Charles (Charlie) Lankford 

Working with American Sun Melon in the 1980's, Charlie was an instrumental  member of the team that pioneered seedless watermelon and brought them to  consumers across the country.

He worked directly with many of the first commercial  seedless growers on site, and then would travel to the southern hemisphere during the  winter to develop seedless watermelons with growers there. Fluency in the Spanish language made him a big asset in dealing with farm and shed labor.

In addition to being a member of the NWA Executive Committee and becoming a member of the Lifetime Council in 2005, Charlie was always willing to do anything asked of him to support the association. From numerous committees to assisting and overseeing the annual seed spit contests, and serving as a greeter at NWA events, Charlie never met a stranger. One member suggested that Charlie knew more convention attendees than anyone else. His personality was such that if he did not know someone, he would walk over and introduce himself. More importantly, once he met you, he never forgot you. And it would not have been surprising to see him roll up on your business the following spring or summer just to say hello and ask how he could help. That was Charlie. 

It was only when his beloved wife Jan fell ill that he missed a national convention. He knew that job 1 was to take care of her, and he did that with grace. "Early in my career, he taught me to respect and support the NWA in anyway that I could, just as he had done," said Jim Schmidt. "The more I got to know him, the more I realized how wise a man he was."

Charlie was a man that was never bound by a paycheck or a time clock; only a drive to get the job done and do it right. A proud man and a true patriot, if you ever asked him where he was from, he would reply, "Knox City America." His family and friends are grateful for this induction to honor a great man, Mr. Charlie Lankford.