CHICAGO — The late Glady Bellamy, a founder and president of Wenatchee, Wash.-based Columbia Marketing International Corp., is the winner of The Packer’s annual award for contributions to the apple industry.

Glady Bellamy wins annual apple awardIn Bellamy’s honor, the name of the award was changed for this year only from Apple Man/Woman of the Year to Apple Man for All Seasons.

Tom Karst, The Packer’s national editor, presented the award to Mike Wade, general manager of Wenatchee, Wash.-based Columbia Fruit Packers Inc., at the U.S. Apple Association’s Apple Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference Aug. 18 in Chicago.

Bellamy died of a heart attack on Oct. 1, 2010. He was 58.

In 1989, Bellamy, Columbia Fruit Packers and two other partners, Nick Buak and Wenatchee-based McDougall & Sons Inc., founded Columbia Marketing. The company has grown to become one of the nation’s leading apple, pear and cherry shippers.

Before co-founding Columbia Marketing, Bellamy worked as sales manager for Chelan, Wash.-based Beebe Orchards.

In presenting the award, Karst cited Bellamy’s work in transitioning the apple industry from one which relied on only a few varieties to one with a plethora of them.

Bellamy was also a pioneer in combining both domestically-grown apples and imports into one seamless marketing program, Karst said.

John Rice, vice president of Gardner, Pa.-based Rice Fruit Co., said Bellamy and his partners built a cutting-edge marketing organization with a reputation for delivering apples all over the world.

“Few companies sold as many different varieties as (Columbia Marketing), and few companies were more successful in translating high selling prices into high returns back to the growers,” Rice said.

Bellamy’s business acumen was complemented by an “infectious good nature” that gained him friends throughout the industry, Rice said.

“He had ‘best friends’ in California, Detroit, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Washington and Chile,” Rice said. “There was always a smile in his voice, and when he told a story, there was a childish enthusiasm that he seemed to have difficulty restraining.”

Scott Swindeman, vice president and sales manager of Deerfield, Mich.-based Applewood Orchards Inc., remembers Bellamy’s passion for work, family and life.

“Glady was the kind of man that made everyone feel comfortable and important when he was with them,” he said. “He was interested in doing what was best for everyone, not just himself.”

Swindeman recalled having dinner once with Bellamy, then sitting around for hours afterward talking until they finally got kicked out of the restaurant.

“When I walked back to my room I made the comment to myself, ‘I could sit and listen to that man for hours.’”