In Memoriam: 2012 Produce Industry Deaths - The Packer

In Memoriam: 2012 Produce Industry Deaths

12/28/2012 10:17:00 AM
Dan Galbraith

During the 1970s, Robert Norinsberg grew apples on up to 4,000 of his own acres in Vermont and Maine, said his son, Mike Norinsberg, Natures Best’s president.

“He was a real builder and a real entrepreneur who touched many people, and many people knew and loved him,” Mike Norinsberg said. “In the 1970s, he basically ran the eastern apple business.”

Patricia Harrison

Patricia Harrison, who worked in Florida’s produce industry for more than three decades, died Dec. 17 after battling cancer. She was 72.

Harrison worked in sales since 1999 for Sugarland Produce Inc., a South Bay, Fla., produce broker, said Leon Kelsoe, the company’s president and owner.

Before joining Sugarland, Harrison was in sales with American Growers in Belle Glade, Fla.

Joseph Piazza Jr.

Joseph “Jay” Piazza Jr., 51, of Everett, Mass.-based Community-Suffolk Inc. died Jan. 21.

Piazza worked as warehouse manager alongside his brothers and cousin in the third-generation family wholesale operation near Boston.

Bob McDougall

Bob McDougall, one of four founding partners in Columbia Marketing International, died Feb. 6 in Mesa, Ariz. He was 87.

McDougall had a 60-year career in the fruit industry in Washington’s Wenatchee Valley. He formed McDougall Orchards Inc. in 1960. In 1977, he and his sons Stuart and Scott McDougall established Wenatchee, Wash.-based McDougall and Sons Inc.

Bob McDougall was president until his retirement in 1998.

Columbia Marketing International was created in 1989, also in Wenatchee.

McDougall remained an active partner with his sons in New Northview Orchard Partnership, north of Orondo, Wash.

A legislator as well as a grower-shipper, he served in the Washington State House of Representatives for eight years and in the state senate for four, where he was minority whip.

Bill Coon

CoonBill Coon, publisher of The Packer from 1972 to 1996, died Feb. 27. Coon, of Leawood, Kan., was 84.

He was praised by those who knew him as a tireless promoter of the industry and The Packer.

Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, said in a statement that Coon helped establish The Packer as a vital partner in the produce industry.

“Bill was as committed to a strong and profitable industry as any produce company (chief executive officer),” Stenzel said. “He is one of those who made a real difference in our industry’s history.”

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