Michael Posey, one of the founding members of the Vancouver Farmers Market, has died.
The 64-year-old, who owned Posey Patch Nursery, was a fixture at the market for 21 years before retiring in 2012, said Jordan Boldt, executive director.
"Mike was a longtime vendor," Boldt said. "He was really big on growth starts for gardeners. He was a gregarious, funny, nice, engaging guy. He was a great ambassador for us."
He died when an undetected tumor on his liver ruptured and spread toxins through his body, his wife of 12 years, Bonnie Gordon Posey, said.
"It was a sudden, totally unexpected death," she said. "They couldn't save him."
Posey and a handful of other farmers founded the market with the City of Vancouver in 1990. It officially opened in June 1991.
"He was a big, giant teddy bear," Gordon Posey said. "He loved everybody. He loved helping people and he loved working."
He was born in Jerome, Idaho, on Dec. 6, 1949, and moved to the Portland area as a teenager. Posey had lived in Vancouver since his early 20s, his wife said.
Other than farming, he also worked as a landscaper for Burgerville for about eight years, Gordon Posey said.
"He loved Clark County," she said. "He was always busy on rural task forces. He was on the (Vancouver-Clark) Parks board for a while. He was a real advocate for children and single mothers, too."
Posey leaves behind his wife and eight children: Michael Joseph Posey, Shawn Posey, Rachel Posey, Richard Posey, Russel Posey, Randy Posey, Rocky Posey and Rory Carroll Posey. He also had eight grandchildren.
Costs from shutting down the farm earlier this year and from his medical expenses have left the family with several thousand dollars of debt. They have set up the "Michael Posey Memorial Fund" at U.S. Bank to help offset some of those expenses.
The Vancouver Farmers Market hopes to have a memorial for him on Aug. 18, although details are not yet available. Boldt said he'll post the information when its available on the market's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/vancouverfarmersmarket.