In Memoriam: 2012 Produce Industry Deaths

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

In the 1950s, German suffered a temporary full paralysis in a vehicle rollover accident while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in Morocco, his son Bill German said.

He recovered sufficiently to walk with a cane for much of the rest of his life.

Morton Litowich

Morton “Bud” Litowich, 90, former head of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Ben Litowich and Son Inc., died April 21.

He lived in Delray Beach, Fla.

His son, Ben Litowich, has served as company president since Bud’s retirement in the early 1990s, though Bud Litowich continued to be involved in the company and the produce industry as an adviser to the company.

Lou Kertesz Sr.

Hailed as an innovator who helped change the way stores received produce, industry icon Lou Kertesz Sr. died June 2. He was 76.

Kertesz Sr. was former vice president of produce operations for procurement and merchandising for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc., Montvale, N.J. He is credited with introducing truckload shipments to retail stores.

Kertesz in 1980 received The Packer’s Produce Marketing Man of the Year Award.

Lou Kertesz Jr., vice president of Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Fresh Quest Produce Inc., said his father created a movement that revolutionized produce shipments.

“He created a lot of careers and inspired a lot of people,” Kertesz Jr. said. “He inspired people to put the passion in the business. If you loved him, you had to ride the roller coaster to destinations you’d never go to.”

While filling in for a vacationing produce manager at Kohls Food Stores, Kertesz was given the opportunity to manage his own store. He later joined A&P at its Indianapolis regional office and was promoted to head of perishables.

Leaving A&P during the 1980s, Kertesz for a decade ran a consulting business and became a co-owner of Pueblo International, which owned a large Puerto Rican and Caribbean retail chain.

Sharon Brannan

Sharon “Sheree” Brannan, 62, Pasadena, Md., died June 12 after a battle with cancer.

Brannan was a past market manager for the Jessup-based Maryland Wholesale Produce Market. She also was the first woman president of the National Association of Produce Market Managers, from 2004-05.

“I had the honor of serving on the board of NAPMM during the year that Sheree was president, the first woman to hold this position,” said Jim Farr, editor for the association.


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