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In 1988, the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame was created to honour those that demonstrated unselfish achievement within the realm of agriculture and service to the rural community.
Photo image of Hector Romaine Delanghe

Delanghe, Hector Romaine*

- 2002

Inducted: October 23, 2002

Hector Delanghe has worked tirelessly for an impressive variety of agricultural causes to make farming safer and more efficient, productive and rewarding for his fellow fruit and vegetable growers and for the entire farm community.

His efforts have won him a long list of local, provincial and national honours, some of them shared by his equally hard-working wife, Marilyn.
Hector was one of four children of Maurice Delanghe and the former Lucy Vantyghem, and was brought up to believe that anything can be achieved through hard and conscientious work. His two sisters are Mrs. Mary (George) VanGassen, Blenheim; and Mrs. Bertha Wright, R. R. 1 Blenheim; and his brother, the late Henry Delanghe.

Hector attended the Pardoville School, and, as a young teen, started working with his father on the family farm. The Delanghes grew burley tobacco, and Hector worked over the winter for the British Leaf Tobacco Company. It is doubtful at that time that he, or anyone else, envisioned a time when he would serve as Chairman and a Director of the Ontario Burley Tobacco Marketing Association.

Hector and his father shared an interest in fruit production, and could see a future in it.

At the age of 22, he bought his first 50 acres, the beginning of acquisitions that have brought him to the present 400 acres, 225 of them in fruit.

Many of his honours have come because he is not afraid to tackle a difficult job. John E. Smith said Hector, a long-time friend, neighbour and associate, accepted the difficult job of Chairman of the Labour Section of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Marketing Board in 1978, when no one else wanted it. Before that, he was the first Chairman of the Kent and Area Local Agricultural Manpower Board.

In responsibilities like these, he helped put the import of off shore labour on an efficient basis for the first time.

More recently, he has been a Charter Member and the first Chairman of the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services.

Hector served on the O.P.E.P. Steering Committee, for the Ontario Pesticides Educational and Safety Program. This program requires farmers using pesticides to be tested every five years, through a course and an examination. This training, testing and certification covers everything from the purchase to the transport of pesticides, and has contributed in a major way to farm safety.

He also served as Horticultural Representative on N.I.S.A. (Net Income Stabilization Act), a program that is a safety net for farmers who produce commodities not included in national supply management. These include non-traditional livestock, like elk and deer, non-traditional crops like ginseng. The Act covers primary producers across Canada. Hector served on this committee for almost 10 years.

Hector has, over the years been the President of the Western Ontario Fruit Testing Association for 16 years, Vice-President for 22 years. This has enabled him to test new varieties on his own land, before making a heavy investment in something that is untried and unproven.

He has served as President of the Canadian Horticultural Council, Co-Chairman of the Ontario Horticultural Advisory Committee, an Advisor to the Canadian Agricultural Research Committee, President and Treasurer of the Cedar Springs Cherry Growers' Cooperative, Blenheim, and a Director of Marbrite Foods Co-op Inc. He is deeply involved in the Labour Issues Coordinating Committee.

Early in 2002, he was Vice-President of AIMS (Agricultural Integrated Management Services), and on Can-Ag Travel; and a members of the FARMS Board.

He was the Uniroyal Golden Apple Award Winner in 1988, and received the Outstanding Individual Award from the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science in 1992. He was named an Honourary Member of the Ontario Association of Agrologists.

Hector has been active in community programs. He was named a Life Member of the Blenheim Kinsmen Club; and his wife, Marilyn, a Life Member of the Kinettes, recognizing their hard work for the community. They are members of Trinity Anglican Church, Blenheim. They operate Delhaven Orchards and SunMark Farms.

Hector and Marilyn (Roe) have three children: Heather, a teacher at Bothwell; Lisa (Mrs. Steve Langley, a teacher in St. Thomas; and Mark (Barbara) who is Farm Production Manager and owner of SunMark Farms. There are two grandsons, Scott Langley, aged 6, and Zachary Hector Langley, 3 ½.

His daughter, Lisa, said there was always "a strong family atmosphere" in the Delanghe home. The children were encouraged to approach problems with enthusiasm, as their father and mother did. As Lisa said, her father "is passionate about everything he does".

John E. Smith described Hector as aggressive, an opportunist, and a good person. He has enjoyed travel, much of it with long-time friends, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Hope.

He has won the respect and admiration of his peers. One life associate said that Hector has a contagious enthusiasm for every good cause. "He is a good citizen, a good husband, a good father and grandfather, and a very good friend."

The Grower, a publication of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Marketing Board, gave Hector full credit for a remarkable career in a story early in 2002.

"Since the beginning of his career, he has participated actively as a horticultural industry leader and has forged new policies for the betterment of the industry as a whole."