Obituary: Anthony LaFetra

Longtime CEO of Rain Bird, philanthropist, grandfather

Anthony LaFetra, president and chief executive officer of the Rain Bird Corporation, died peacefully in his sleep on January 29 from an undiagnosed cancer at the age of 80.

Mr. LaFetra joined Rain Bird in 1964. During his 57-year tenure, Rain Bird grew from a small irrigation company in Glendora into an internationally based powerhouse committed to promoting water efficiency around the globe.

“Tony will be missed,” said his brother-in-law, Art Ludwick. “He was at Rain Bird for decades and he did his job with distinction. May he rest in peace.”

Mr. LaFetra was also a philanthropist who supported education, land preservation and native wildlife, among many other causes. Since 2012, he served as a member of the board of trustees at the University of La Verne. The LaFetra College of Education at the university was named in his honor.

He was a gifted fly fisherman, an avid skier, and a lover of nature. 

He is survived by his two children, Suzanne LaFetra Collier and Michael LaFetra, who both grew up in Claremont; his sister Sarah Lynne Ludwick and brother-in-law Arthur Ludwick of Glendora; as well as four grandchildren.

Gifts in Mr. LaFetra’s memory can be made to the LaFetra Overcomer’s Endowed Scholarship at the University of La Verne at


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