2013 Year in Produce Farewells

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

Slayman is survived by his wife, DeAnna Jane Slayman; his stepson, Jonathan Cole; his mother, Joyce Slayman; and a sister, Lisa Slayman-McWalters.

 

Gilbert Papazian

Gilbert Papazian, longtime produce broker and former president of Burlingame, Calif.-based Lucky Strike Farms, died May 3. He was 83.

Lucky Strike, whose farming investments include two ranches in Salinas, has been a member of Western Growers Association since 1953.

“He was an iconic figure in the produce business,” said his son, Gib Papazian, the company’s current president. “He had literally thousands of friends. In this corner of the country, if he didn’t know somebody, they’d heard of him. He was larger than life.”

Gilbert Papazian lived in Hillsborough, Calif. Survivors include his wife, Margaret Papazian.

His father, Walter Papazian, started the family business in the mid-1930s.

“He was one of the last remnants of a time when the produce business was the Wild West,” Gib Papazian said of his father. “As the years rolled on, he lamented that the business had sort of lost its soul. It had become a whole lot like the grocery business and less about family growers selling to family buyers and chain stores.”

 

Keith Watterworth

Keith Watterworth, 66, died May 8 at his home in Leamington, Ontario. He worked for greenhouse grower Mucci Farms, Kingsville, Ontario, as inbound logistics manager for the last six years.

Colleagues at Mucci remember Watterworth as a dedicated father and grandfather and a respected professional, said Emily Murracas, marketing coordinator.

Before joining Mucci, Watterworth worked in the produce industry, mostly in transportation and logistics, for more than 20 years, Murracas said. During his career, he worked for M Pearce Trucking Ltd., Leamington; Sun-Brite Foods Inc,, Ruthven, Ontario; and Clifford Produce Sales Inc., Leamington.

 

Gil Henry

Gil Henry, whose business innovations included ripening rooms for the avocado industry, died May 18. The longtime partner in Escondido, Calif.-based Henry Avocado Corp. was 88.

“Gil built the first forced-air ripening room for avocados here at Henry Avocado in 1983,” said Phil Henry, his cousin and company president.

Gil Henry collaborated with Vic Tokar on that first room. Today the company has 54.

He was named Charles Henry — for his father — but was always known by his nickname Gil. His parents started their Escondido ranch in 1925. After an Army stint in World War II, Gil Henry joined their efforts to expand the business by starting deliveries to Los Angeles.


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