Bill Lipman, last of the Six L’s founders, dies

05/20/2011 10:31:00 AM
Chris Koger

LipmanThe last of the founders of Six L’s and Lipman family empire has died.

Bill Lipman, 88, died May 19. Along with his brothers, brothers-in-law and father, Lipman helped start Immokalee, Fla.-based Six L’s Packing Co. from a 40-acre farm that later blossomed into one of the largest U.S. field-grown tomato grower-shippers and repackers.

Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Maitland-based Florida Tomato Exchange, worked with Bill Lipman when Brown was a Collier County extension agent during the early and mid-1980s. Brown said he last saw Lipman in the Six L’s office earlier this spring and said Lipman was visiting the office every week.

“Bill was a significant contributor to the development of the company,” Brown said. “Each of those family members, especially that older generation that gave birth to the company, they deserve all the credit for putting it together and working through the trials and tribulations in establishing itself as a viable enterprise. Looking at their stature in the marketplace, it was all that work that generation did and the success they had that the company has been able to build what it is today.”

Along with their father, Max Lipman, brothers Arby Lipman, Bill Lipman and Louis Lipman and three brothers-in-law, Saul Brody, Jerry Fradin and David Harris, founded Six L’s in 1950 after Max Lipman — who had worked as a New York produce merchant since 1918 — moved to Florida.

Known as Mr. Bill, Bill Lipman served as a mentor and role model to many Six L’s employees Lipman Family Cos. officials said in a May 19 news release.

Kent Shoemaker, Lipman’s chief executive officer, credited Bill Lipman for helping make Six L’s what he says is the largest North American field-grown tomato grower.

“Mr. Bill was instrumental in the building of Six L’s and our related businesses,” Shoemaker said in the release. “His leadership in sales and administration set a tone of excellence that we continue to strive for. His passion for the business was evidenced by his desire to work here … literally until the end of his amazing life.”

A major Florida tomato and vegetable operation, Six L’s expanded to growing and packing operations throughout the Eastern Seaboard and to California and Mexico. The Lipman’s repacking operation, Custom Pak, has facilities in California, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland.

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janet gusar    
ft myers fl  |  May, 21, 2011 at 01:28 PM

He will always be remembered! Rest in peace,"Mr. Bill"!

Jon Karalekas    
Naples, FL  |  May, 22, 2011 at 07:15 PM

Our condolences and prayers go out to the Lipman Family. Truly an amazing family business built from the ground up.

California  |  May, 28, 2011 at 01:17 PM

He was our mentor, our conscience and our leader.

diane burras geyer    
atlanta,ga  |  August, 25, 2011 at 06:03 PM

I am so sorry David, your dad was so sweet and funny. Whaen he laughed everyone felt it.. and wanted to be around him, please get intouch with me..

diane burras geyer    
atlanta,ga  |  August, 25, 2011 at 06:03 PM

I am so sorry David, your dad was so sweet and funny. Whaen he laughed everyone felt it.. and wanted to be around him, please get intouch with me..

L. Johnson    
Dothan Al  |  October, 17, 2011 at 06:00 AM

Sorry for your loss David, my condolences for the Lipman family.Smooth sailing Mr Bill

Michelle Long    
Kingston, Md  |  February, 06, 2012 at 03:16 AM

Sorry to hear of his passing. My late father, Morgan Long, from Westover, Maryland was one of the growers for Six Ls. I remember as a little girl how Arby and the other family members would take time to visit personally with their growers individually out on the farm. It was nice to see business conducted that way; not only as businessmen but also through friendship. It is nice to know Mr. Bill cotinued on in such a manner guiding the company with those same values. God bless his family, friends and business partners who have had to deal with his passing.

Charles Scott Jones    
Cana, Va.  |  May, 08, 2013 at 08:44 AM

Our (Jones Produce) prayers go out to the Lipman family. R.I.P. "Mr. Bill!"

Micky Nieman    
Wilkes-Barre, PA  |  July, 30, 2013 at 05:48 PM

I worked at the Woodlands Inn 30 years ago and remember the 6 L's family staying there every Summer. What a nice group of people. I remember a woman whose last name was Shipiro. I think her first name was Roberta. Anyhow, my condolences to the family.

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