February 2, 2017
Truman Lawrence started as a “horseback-riding, roping cowboy in Oklahoma and Texas” according to his longtime customers, Mary and Bill Mericka, Triple M Ranch, Browns Summit, N.C., but worked his way to be one of the most well-respected and beloved Hereford farm managers in the country.
Truman managed McIntosh, Double L and Poca Dot Hereford farms over the years and then spent 25 years working for Morlunda Farms, Lewisburg, W.Va. When Truman began managing Morlunda in 1960, the farm was a horned operation that Truman was able to transition into one of the best polled Hereford herds in the country.
Dr. Donald Richardson, Crozet, Va., says he made many trips to Morlunda with his father, Warren, while Truman was manager. “Truman was my father’s favorite cowperson of all time,” Dr. Richardson said in his enthusiastic endorsement of Truman’s induction into the Hall of Fame.
“Truman was a superb fitter and shower of cattle,” Dr. Richardson adds.
While Truman was managing Morlunda, owned by the Nelson family, it won many banners for excellent show cattle. During Truman’s employment in 1968, Morlunda traveled across the country to more shows than any other Hereford farm.
Truman also gained national respect as a judge.
The Merickas have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for Truman. “Truman was a real believer in trying to improve the breed. He went to Canada and bought cattle to increase frame size. He believed in records and kept detailed ones before that became the thing to do,” they wrote in their recommendation.
Truman was also focused on youth, spending much of his time mentoring young cattlemen and cattlewomen. Bill Nelson attests to this. “All the grandchildren thought of Truman as a second father,” Nelson says.
The late Oscar Nelson, Jr., who was Truman’s employer at Morlunda, was quoted as saying, “Truman is an expert judge of cattle. He’s also an excellent salesman, but more than these things, the one thing that is dear to my heart is his ability and desire to work with young people.”
Dale Stith, an auctioneer from Maysville, Ky., has known Truman Lawrence for 35 years: “Mr. Lawrence has been a mentor and teacher to an untold number of young and old alike. It is because of managers like this that so many successful businessmen and women have had their success in our industry.”