Elton L. Hinton (deceased) was born in Jasper, Alabama in August 1921, Elton Hinton learned about the land firsthand from his father and grandfather. In the early 1940s, Elton attended Auburn University, where he majored in agricultural education and was an Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity brother of E. T.York.
In 1943, just six credits shy of graduation, Elton left Auburn to teach high school agriculture for six months until he joined the U.S. Army. While serving at a base in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, he met his future wife, Vera Lott. They were married after the war ended on New Year’s Eve 1945.
Family accepts plaque at ceremony Oct. 5, 2010
Elton completed his degree from Auburn by correspondence in 1947 and began teaching agriculture to veterans in Walker County, Alabama. After Elton and Vera’s first son, Don, was born, they relocated to Bartow to assist a friend with a business venture. When the business did not succeed, Elton found work as the agriculture teacher at Turkey Creek High School near Dover in 1948. He and Vera purchased some land there for their growing family of three more boys, Wylie, Bob, and Gary.
For the next 19 years, Elton Hinton supported his family as an agricultural educator, while adopting innovative techniques for growing strawberries and vegetables. Under his guidance, several of his students received top FFA awards. During that time, he was also involved with the youth livestock program at the Florida State Fair and was a Founding Member of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association.
In 1967, Elton completed his master’s degree at the University of Florida and was soon named the Agricultural Supervisor for Hillsborough County. He maintained his involvement with youth by working closely with the 43 vocational agriculture teachers in the county. In 1973 Elton continued to have a major role in agricultural education by leading the task force which moved the agricultural education academic program from the UF College of Education to the College of Agriculture.
When he retired from his Agricultural Supervisor position in 1979, Elton continued to farm and stayed active in the East Hillsborough County Chamber of Commerce and the Plant City Kiwanis Club. That year, he was also honored with Distinguished Service awards from the Florida Farm Bureau and the Florida Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association. In addition to his educational activities, Elton was always generous in recognizing others for their contributions to agriculture.
Elton was instrumental in establishing the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1980 and went on to serve as both an officer and president. To recognize Elton’s pioneering status, the Florida Strawberry Growers and the Florida Vocational Hall of Fame added him to their rolls in 1990, and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame, for which he had done so much, inducted him in 1994. Elton passed away in March 1996 at the age of 75. He is survived by his wife, Vera, and their four sons and many grandchildren.
Elton Hinton was inducted into the Florida FFA Hall of Fame October 5, 2010.