(March 4, 10:37 a.m.) Jim Nolan, vice president of the Nolan Network, died on March 2.

Nolan ran the sales agency and marketing firm with his wife, Theresa, the company’s president.

Nolan was a 24-year employee of Ocean Spray before retiring in 2001. He joined the company in 1977 in Kenosha, Wis., as fresh cranberry sales manager for the Western U.S. and Canada. In 1981, he was promoted to overall fresh fruit sales manager and relocated to Plymouth, Mass.

Well-liked in the industry, Nolan was respected for his honesty and his ethics, said Grant Hunt, president of the Grant J. Hunt Co., Oakland, Calif.

“Jim worked through some difficult times at Ocean Spray,” Hunt said. “He always did the best thing in the best interest of the produce industry.”

Nolan began his career as editor of the daily newspaper in Excelsior Springs, Mo. From 1974 to 1977, he worked for The Packer, where he was Eastern reporter and manager based in Boston.

The Nolan Network, founded in 1987, is known for a 2004 lawsuit against Ocean Spray, Middleboro, Mass.

The suit stemmed from the allegation Ocean Spray circumvented the Nolan Network to give preferential pricing to wholesale giant Costco Inc., in 2000, and then retailer H.E. Butt in 2002.

Nolan's funeral is 11 a.m. Saturday, March 8, at Forest Lawn Mortuary, Hendersonville, N.C. Viewing is the hour prior to the funeral service.