2013 Year in Produce Farewells - The Packer

2013 Year in Produce Farewells

01/08/2014 10:39:00 AM
Dan Galbraith

As business increased, he relocated Baldor to a seven-acre facility adjacent to the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx.

Company officials said Murphy increased Baldor’s sales from a van and a couple of delivery trucks to more than 800 workers who distribute produce through more than 200 trucks.

Alan Butzbach, director of marketing, began working with Murphy at Balducci when Murphy married Ria Balducci, daughter of company owner Andrew Balducci.

“He was very caring and hard-working,” Butzbach said. “He didn’t take anything from anyone and was a tough but fair negotiator. People respected him for what he knew and how he got it done.”

Butzbach said Murphy was almost kind to a fault toward his employees. Butzbach said he once saw Murphy pull $100 out of his pocket and give it to a worker who told him he was having difficult financial times.

Murphy is survived by his mother, Marilyn Murphy; son T.J. Murphy; daughter-in-law Christine Murphy; two brothers; and a sister.

The family received guests on Feb. 2 and remembered him in a private service at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home in New York.


Bennie Lee Hensley Palmer

Bennie Lee Hensley Palmer of J.F. Palmer & Sons Produce Inc., Pharr, Texas, died Feb. 2.

Palmer, 87, died at Rio Grande Regional Hospital after a brief illness.

Born in Amity, Ark., Bennie Lee Hensley grew up near Texarkana, Ark., and moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 1954, working as a civilian employee with the U.S. Air Force during reactivation of Moore Air Base. That’s where she met and soon married J. Forrest Palmer, who died in 2003.

She worked in a number of roles and helped build the family business.


Kazuo Ikeda

Kazuo Ikeda, president of Ikeda Bros. and a co-founder of the Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange, died Feb. 11 in Arroyo Grande, Calif. He was 94.

The Japanese-American grower and his brothers Seirin and Saburo returned to the coastal region to form the company after spending time in an internment camp during World War II.

Kazuo Ikeda, better known as Kaz, was president of Ikeda Bros. from 1955 until his death.

“My dad definitely slowed down in his 90s but was still very active touring the different ranches daily,” said Vard Ikeda, the grower’s son. He was named for Vard Loomis, whose family watched over the Ikeda property and equipment during the internment.

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