Ken Martin of Rio Queen Citrus Passes Away

Wed. August 14th, 2019
- by Kayla Webb     

MCALLEN, TX - It is with heavy hearts that AndNowUKnow announces the passing of Ken Martin, a well-respected industry leader who headed up one of the largest citrus and onion farming and packaging companies in Texas. He passed away on August 7, 2019, at the age of 77.

Martin was born in Southwest Missouri, where he grew up on his family’s dairy farm. After attending school in his home state, he met his wife, Sue. In 1970, the two were asked by Sue’s father to move to South Texas to care for his citrus orchards, which is where Martin learned the ropes of managing the groves, driving the tractors, and irrigating the soil. It was these orchards that also put Martin on his produce path, which ultimately led him to running his own citrus and onion farming and packaging operation 40 years later. He was also an early proponent of the famous Rio Star Grapefruit that many Texans have come to know and love. Throughout his career, he served on numerous industry committees and boards.

In 2012, Martin sold his citrus company and purchased a vineyard in Napa, California. Although Martin spent most of his life farming in Texas, he truly loved nothing more than enjoying wine with family in the beautiful Napa Valley, according to a press release. It was Napa where Martin spent his last days doing what he loved most: enjoying his time with his grandchildren, wine tasting in Napa, and preparing for another harvest season.

Martin will always be remembered as a beloved husband, kind father, and loving grandfather and great-grandfather who knew how to live his life to the absolute fullest. He is survived by his wife, Sue; his children, Mike and Jeanie; his grandchildren, Taylor, Mary, Kathryn, Wilson, Mikenley, Maisen, Harden, Gairsen, and Natalie; and a great-granddaughter, Aubrey. He will be deeply missed by his family, his friends, and all who had the opportunity to know him.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on August 20 at the First United Methodist Church, 4200 North McColl Road in McAllen, TX. Please consider donating in Martin’s memory to Saving Hope Animal Rescue ( or the American Heart Association (

The ANUK team offers our deepest condolences to the Martin family and all affected during this time.