Oscar Lorick Sr., a farmer who made national headlines in the 1980s trying to save his Bleckley County farm, died Thursday at 95.
Lorick became one of the faces of the farming crisis that took place during that decade when he battled to save his farm after nearly being evicted in 1985.
As his story was told in publications across the nation, ranging from the New York Times to People magazine, Lorick was able to keep the family farm his father had owned since the Civil War after enough money was raised in donations for him to keep it.
According to published reports, the bank attempted to evict Lorick on Nov. 15, 1985. The bank agreed to delay the eviction after a tense standoff between the Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office and armed protesters.
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One of Lorick’s daughters, Betty Mifflin, said Friday that her father was illiterate.
“There were some discrepancies in the accounting as to what he owed,” she said. “With a very limited education, (people) felt like he was being taken advantage of.”
A couple attempted to buy the farm at the last minute and would let Lorick continue to live and farm there. However, that deal fell apart.
An Atlanta businessman and an Atlanta pollster traveled about 8,000 miles to raise money from every black church that would have them, according to published reports, raising about 72 percent of the roughly $100,000 Lorick owed. The rest of the money was donated by Kroger just 24 hours before the bank’s deadline.
The farm is divided into two sections of 72 and 58 acres each, Mifflin said. The farm grew peanuts, soybeans and corn, she said.
“He was an amazing farmer,” she said. “He was an honest, upstanding and upright guy who took care of his obligations and would help out wherever he needed to.”
Bernice Rouse, another of Lorick’s daughters, said she was living in Louisville, Kentucky, at the time of his troubles and kept up with what was going on by reading newspaper accounts.
Rouse and Mifflin said they plan to keep the farm in the family but don’t have immediate plans for it.
Lorick’s funeral will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at Free Providence Baptist Church, 1021 Ga. 26 W., Cochran. Fisher Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.