DeBlouw was killed in an electrical accident in the company’s packinghouse, said Joe Pirrone, the company’s former owner.
DeBlouw, a co-owner of Mussey-based Pirrone since 1988, and his son Henry bought Joe Pirrone’s shares in the company in May. Pirrone remains at the company as a salesman.
Henry DeBlouw, who became secretary and treasurer after the sale, has succeeded his father as president, Pirrone said.
Butch DeBlouw, who grew up on a farm near Mount Clemens, Mich., joined Pirrone in 1985. Growing was his specialty, Pirrone said.
“The farming arm of our company was his baby, his passion,” Pirrone said.
DeBlouw was also “very good on the telephones,” Pirrone said, and he was known for his intensity, whether it was growing and selling vegetables or coaching his kids’ basketball and hockey teams.
“If something needed to happen, he made it happen,” Pirrone said. “He was extremely driven.”
DeBlouw also had a way with people that made him a perfect match for the produce industry, Pirrone said.
“I told his children, ‘Your father had three sisters and 500 brothers,’” Pirrone said. “At his funeral, there were more than 1,200 people in the church. He’ll be missed, and we’ll continue on and make him proud of us.”
DeBlouw is survived by his wife, Donna; five children; parents Henry and Deanna; and three sisters.