In Memoriam: 2012 Produce Industry Deaths - The Packer

In Memoriam: 2012 Produce Industry Deaths

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

“Sheree was responsible for helping the organization grow its membership, update its bylaws, website and professionalize the management structure, including convincing the board of the need to hire an administrative secretary.”

She was recognized in 2008 by the association for managing the Maryland Food Center and was honored as the Market Manager of the Year.

Chris Martin

MartinChris Martin, president of Los Angeles-based Gourmet Trading Co., died July 23.

Martin, Gourmet Trading’s president since 1988, died of an apparent heart attack while on vacation with his family in Santa Barbara, Calif., according to a Gourmet Trading official. He was 48.

In a statement, Paul Martin, Chris Martin’s brother and a partner in Gourmet Trading, praised his brother’s vision in turning their company into a worldwide supplier of asparagus, blueberries and other fruits and vegetables.

“We mourn the loss of Chris, whose honesty, fairness and integrity have established the lasting values by which our company will continue to operate successfully as we move on,” Paul Martin said.

A fellow asparagus importer, Walter Yager, chief executive officer of Miami-based Alpine Fresh, first got to know Martin 25 years ago.

Yager remembered Martin, a New Zealand native, as an excellent businessman and leader.

Martin, who was the West Coast co-chairman of the Miami-based Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association, is widely regarded as one of the first importers to recognize Peru’s potential as an asparagus growing region.

John Stickles

John Stickles, a Florida strawberry grower, died July 26. He was 57.

Born in Oceanside, Calif., Stickles was general manager and partner with Dover-based Florida Pacific Farms, which markets fruit through Watsonville, Calif.-based Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc.

A board member of the Maitland-based Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Stickles also served on the boards of the Dover-based Florida Strawberry Growers Association and the Gainesville-based Florida Farm Bureau.

Lawrence Krempel

Longtime Kroger Co. produce merchandiser Lawrence “Larry” Krempel, 61, of Vero Beach, Fla., died Aug. 3 at a Cincinnati hospital.

Krempel worked 37 years in produce merchandising and procurement for Cincinnati-based Kroger’s Vero Beach Kroger/Wesco Foods Co. buying office.

After retiring from Kroger in 2007, Krempel worked in sales for GreenLine Foods Inc., Perrysburg, Ohio, before joining Worldwide Produce Direct LLC, Tampa, Fla., in 2010.

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