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Myrl Mitchell, who earned the moniker of “The Only Honest Ginner in Texas” passed away Saturday. Myrl was a farmer and ginner for 50 years. He owned Four Way Gin in Lenorah, Texas. He was a past President of Plains Cotton Growers, Texas Cotton Ginners Association, and National Cotton Ginners Association. To say Myrl was an Ag-vocate is putting it mildly. His time and efforts on behalf of the cotton industry serve as a great example to those of us who are part of the industry now. Myrl was also a community man, who served on the Grady School Board and he was an avid Grady Athletic Booster. His Memorial Service will be held in the Grady Gymnasium, which speaks to the love the community has for Myrl. Finally, he was a family man and was married to his sweet wife
He was what all of us in ag today aspire to be. He worked in and for his community, raised his family and continued to be active in the organizations he loved even in retirement. You could count on seeing Myrl and Mercidine in April at the Texas Cotton Ginners Trade Show and Annual Meeting, and the Plains Cotton Growers Annual meeting as well. He cared about the state of agriculture and most of the all the people in it. Over the years I was honored to call Myrl a friend. His quick smile and equally quick wit made Myrl a popular fellow. He along with fellow ginner Sid Brough started the Old Buzzards Club at National Ginners Association. The highlight for Myrl and Sid was awarding Charlie Owens of Arizona the first Old Buzzard Pin! He was a character to say the least and you always left with a smile on your face after visiting with him.
I saved my favorite Myrl Story for last. In 2007 we began ginning what would end up being the biggest Crop ever ginned at Meadow. About 10,000 bales into that gin run the cylinder on our mote press went out. Needless to say, no one in Lubbock had one laying around and repairs would take a week or so at least. Well I started calling friends who handled equipment and parts. Gary Moore said call Myrl, he’s got a mote press just like yours and he’s not running the gin this fall. Well I called Myrl, and being Myrl he said, “Come get it! You’ll have to take it out, but you’re welcome to it Jackson. All I ask is you put it back like you found it.” Well we packed up and headed to Lenorah. We got the cylinder out and got it back to Meadow and we’re running that evening. Well about 50,000 bales later I called Myrl and told him we were done. I asked which hydraulic shop he preferred and said we’ll get it checked out, packing replaced and get put back in. Myrl replied, “All you need to do is put it back like you found it.” I said, “Myrl we used it the entire season and I want to make sure it’s in the same shape we got it in. Please let me have it gone through,” Again his reply was just bring it back and put it in. Well we cleaned it up and made the trip back down and put it back like we found it. The best part was Myrl was at the office and I went up to say Thanks Again.
I had a great visit with Myrl that day and offered to pay whatever he wanted as rent for the use of the cylinder. He wouldn’t hear of it. We talked about ginning the Trust, and safety. He told me a story I’ve often repeated. He said he had a ginner who retired, but he kept him around to run for parts and train new employees at the gin. He said one day he followed the fellow out when he was walking a new hire through the gin. He said, “Jackson he used the best line ever about a gin I’ve ever heard. He told that boy there’s nothing in here that will reach out and grab you, but if you get in it, it will not let you go!” Followed by that typical Myrl grin…
Myrl left us a better than he found us, and definitely left us a great example of how to live life.
To his lovely bride Mercidine and the kids, please know our thoughts and prayers are with you….