Memoriam: David Falk - A Legacy of Competition, Change, and Contribution


Memoriam: David Falk - A Legacy of Competition, Change, and Contribution

Mr. David Falk, 78, of Raleigh, North Carolina, and owner of Kingsmill Farm II, passed away on April 14, 2014, of complications due to heart surgery.


Mr. Falk enjoyed a long and colorful history with the dairy industry. Following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a degree in Dairy Management, he operated Kingsmill Farm I, a dairy farm near Willilamsburg, VA, in the 1960s and early 1970s. Mr. Falk told that this farm, located on the James River, had at one time been determined by historians to be the oldest continuously cultivated piece of property in the United States. During his years at Kingsmill I, Mr. Falk participated in development of the early technologies t of embryo transfer, and as a result was an early exporter of embryos to China. This is the time frame in which he struck a friendship with Mr. Richard Chichester, who later became the well-known CEO of Select Sires.

According to Mr. Falk, this farm property was sold in the mid-1970s to Anheuser-Busch Company, and is the current site of Kingsmill Resort and incorporated into Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. Mr. Falk then joined Drucker and Falk, a real estate and property management company founded by his father, Emanuel Falk, with partner A. Louis Drucker.

Even though he helped build Drucker and Falk into one of the nation’s largest real estate and property management companies, Mr. Falk never lost his passion for the dairy industry and its people. One of his favorite things to do was to find a spot in one of his barns or pastures, surrounded by cows, and just sit and ponder, often chewing on a cigar. A purchase of embryos as a donation to North Carolina State led to his acquaintance with Dr. Mitch Hockett, and the two joined forces to form Kingsmill Farm II.

This partnership immediately gained the attention of the Registered Holstein world with the purchase of Ever-Green-View Elsa, the high seller at the North Carolina National Convention Sale, followed in short order with the purchase of Tri-Day Ashlyn-ET (EX-96-2E) GMD DOM, a Supreme Champion at Madison. Always with an eye to the future generations of cattle and support for dairy farm families, Mr. Falk generously sponsored the Kingsmill Futurity for several years at World Dairy Expo, advancing that program and the breeders who participated. He also was a major sponsor of the Junior Shows at the All-American Dairy Shows at Harrisburg.

Kingsmill was a primary buyer of cattle and embryos - both publicly and privately - for several years, thus providing an infusion of income for many dairy farmers. The herd received several All-American nominations during its tenure, with its most notable show-ring achievement the Intermediate Championship of Red-Vision Dis Della-Red in the International Red-and-White Show in 2005. Consignment sales hosted by the farm were some of the ‘go-to’ events in the mid-2000s, and saw cattle sold from coast-to-coast. It is rare to pick up a sale catalog today and not see cattle developed by Kingsmill or with a Kingsmill prefix somewhere in the pedigree.

Following the herd’s dispersal, it gave Mr. Falk much pleasure in recent years to see the Kingsmill prefix in the name of high-scoring young cows who won show-ring accolades, or in the pedigrees of animals in sales around the world. Mr. Falk wanted his legacy to reflect that he had helped advance the breed with his participation, and in the process, make the herds of those who love registered Holsteins more profitable so young breeders could remain in business. Indeed, his presence has surely done that.

It would be fair to say (and Mr. Falk would approve!) that he didn't die, he just wore out, because every day was lived to the fullest. He was large in stature, large in the way his mind worked, and at any minute he could burst out into a roar of laughter, often at himself and some miscue. In one five-minute span, the conversation could range from genomics to the Chinese economy to the Roman Empire to Madison to male-female relationships to milk processing to his beloved collie, Chief, to what was the hot stock on Wall Street or in Tokyo. And then he would top that off with a discussion on who had the best barbeque in some small town, so you could listen in and see what interesting property might be coming on the market, and then the question “Do you have time to go get a bite?”

Mr. Falk could be a challenge to deal with, but only because he expected himself to rise to many challenges. He had a fierce competitive spirit that followed him from his years on the rowing team at UWM to his business dealings.

Along with his role in the dairy industry, Mr. Falk supported a variety of philanthropic and humanitarian causes during his lifetime, both in the states, and internationally. Most recently, he was excited about some promising advances in cancer research which he was supporting financially. He did see his wish for a branded dairy product come true, with the introduction of Cultured Cow cheddars in 2012; he was pleased to be joined in that effort by a grandson, Dexter Tillett.

Mitch Hockett, partner in Kingsmill, says “Mr. Falk was a gentle giant who made everyone he met feel special. More than that, he cared about anything those people cared about if he thought there was an opportunity to help someone. He was a great man and will be missed.“

David Falk was a visionary with an unlimited imagination, and an even more unlimited determination to see that vision through to fruition. Even if the original vision didn’t materialize as first dreamed, he relished the challenges that caused growth along the way, and change resulted.

Mr. Falk is survived by four children, Kellie Falk-Tillett, Kim Tillett, David Falk, Jr., of Raleigh, and Amy Weinberger of Sarasota, Florida, and several grandchildren. An obituary for the ag sector would not be complete without mentioning Donna Keylon, Mr. Falk’s most devoted office and life manager.

Funeral Services will take place on Thursday morning, April 17, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. at Beth Meyer Synagogue, 504 Newton Road, Raleigh, NC. Services are under the direction of Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, Millbrook Road, Raleigh, NC. The complete obituary will be updated at: http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=David-Falk&lc=4233&pid=170646504&mid=5929091

Return to Industry Buzz.

4.15.2014