By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Owner commits suicide at Carlton Farms

CARLTON — John Gerald Duyn, President and CEO of Carlton Farms, died at the plant Wednesday afternoon of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office.

Duyn, who maintained a primary residence in Portland and a secondary one in McMinnville, was 61. An employee found his body lying in a rear parking lot, according to Sgt. Todd Whitlow.

The plant is located at 10600 N.W. Westside Road at its intersection with Meadow Lake Road west of Carlton. A crisis team associated with the sheriff’s office has been deployed to assist company employees in coping with the emotional fallout.

The company was founded in 1956 by Henry “Hank” Duyn as Carlton Packing Company. Two years later, Hank’s brother, Carl, bought an interest and joined the company.

John, son of Carl, operated the business in partnership with Joe, son of Hank, until recent years.

In 2012, Joe filed a lawsuit against John in federal district court in Portland, alleging that John, with assistance from his wife Rita, and two friends, had for the past several years been underpaying him and systematically trying to force him out. The case was settled out of court in September 2013, after John reportedly agreed to buy Joe out.

The lawsuit claims that John first attempted to buy the company from his father and uncle in 1981, but Henry insisted on selling his shares to his own son, Joe. For some years afterward, all four men served as its board of directors, with John serving as secretary/treasurer and Joe as vice president.

In 2002, the suit alleges, John began trying to force Joe out, exiling Joe from management ranks and continuing to cut his salary, while increasing his own and awarding himself a series of bonuses and dividends. It alleges John also added his wife and two friends to the board and that they sometimes cast votes despite being ineligible to do so.

Joe asked that the court set “a reasonable salary” dating back to 2002, order dividends be distributed equally to the shareholders, and set aside all board resolutions in which members voted illegally. He asked it to appoint a custodian to take charge of the company, and that either the company or John be ordered to buy him out at a fair value.

The lawsuit was dismissed eight months ago, after the parties reached a settlement in which Joe apparently got the buyout he was seeking. According to a former longtime employee of the company, Carlton Farms has been dealing with recent financial challenges.

Carlton Farms has maintained a national reputation for quality products. In a November 2002 story, Nick Peirano of downtown McMinnville’s renowned Nick’s Italian Cafe attested to that by saying, “Product quality is perfect.” He said he had been buying pork, beef, duck and veal from the company for 20 years.

The suicide is the second tragedy to strike the family in recent weeks, as Joe’s son, Colby, died April 5 of an accidental gunshot wound suffered at a Yamhill residence just southeast of the Yamhill-Carlton High School campus. Longtime friend Chad Joseph Barton, 19, was handling a 9 mm pistol when it discharged, according to District Attorney Brad Berry, and Colby Duyn died after being transported to the Willamette Valley Medical Center.

Arrangements for John Duyn are pending at Macy & Son Funeral Directors.



My deepest sympathy to the entire Duyn family. Thoughts and prayers from the heart to you all. God Bless.


The reporter implies there is a connection with Mr. Duyn's suicide and some of the familial business issues by rolling both together in the article.
Perhaps there was, perhaps not. Would this have been news on its' own? I suspect not.
A little digging might have produced some worthwhile perspective on John's life and career. At best, the issue of the inter-family business strife warranted a separate article, and ideally none at all unless the reported could factually connect the two.


Shame on the NewsRegister, it's staff and it's managing editors. When a person dies there should be respect shown - not garbage flung. It's not the publics right to know why someone took their own life - therefore there needs to be no "speculation" written in the local paper.

If you can't say anything nice - don't say anything at all. This isn't the first time that the NewsRegister has added their own opinion when writing an article about someone's death, but I say it should be the last time!

I ask all that have respect for their neighbors, friends, and family to stop purchasing the NewsRegister until such time that the paper can issue an apology for dirty journalism.


In times of great grief, and especially a suicide following the accidental death of a young person, there is a great deal of suffering on the part of family, friends and others in the community. Paul Daquilante, please step back next time before you write. Think about the lives involved. This family is already suffering. A short article to report the death would have been enough. With 2 deaths in the family and one suicide, didn't it occur to you that reporting family legal history disagreement is not necessary? Did it occur to you that this is not the time for that and that what you wrote may cause further harm? Completely unnecessary. You missed the mark on this one, News Register.


When a person kills himself in public, it becomes a public issue. The public has questions of why it was done when and where it happened. That is the responsibility of journalists to answer these questions. Had it been done privately it likely would have had a different written story. Yes, it is especially painful to all who are close. It is a tragedy for the whole community.


If all the reporting is fair and accurate, I see nothing wrong with all content of this story. It gives a more full perspective of circumstances surrounding the facts. Of course it's tragic. Planes that land don't make the news. My sympathy goes out to the family with regard to both deaths reported.

Jeb Bladine

Reporters working on complex stories have a difficult task under absolute deadlines. Multiple people gathered information for this report – published a few hours after initial law enforcement reports reached us – and for the follow-up story on Tuesday. However, top editors make final content decisions, so we hope people will not personalize complaints at one listed reporter. When a violent death produces many victims, we believe people look to the media for some kind of context. In that, we look to the public record of law enforcement and the courts and report as accurately as possible what we find. We are sorry for the angst this causes for some, and we accept the related anger as natural and understandable.
Jeb Bladine
Publisher / Editor

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