(July 6) MCALLEN, Texas — Wayne Showers, former president of Griffin and Brand Produce Co., died June 28, after a battle with cancer.

Of his 71 years, more than half were devoted to the produce industry.

“He was prepared to be involved in the politics of the industry when a lot of people weren’t, and still aren’t,” said John McClung, president of the Texas Produce Association, Mission.

Born in Vernon, Texas, Showers first became involved in the produce industry during his college years, earning a Master of Science degree in horticulture from Texas A&M University, College Station, in 1958. Four years later, he joined Griffin & Brand as an entomologist and production supervisor, soon becoming the firm’s general manager.

He became president of the company in 1977. At one time during his tenure, Griffin and Brand was considered the largest grower-shipper of onions and carrots in the world, shipping about 6 million bags of onions annually.

He also was president of Alamo Fruit and Vegetable Co., McAllen, from 1976-84.

In 1993, he became general manager of Elmore & Stahl Inc., Pharr, Texas, retiring in 1996 and founding consulting firm Showers and Associates.

During his time in the industry, Showers was involved in the political side of the industry locally, nationally and internationally.

In Texas, he had stints as president of the Texas Citrus and Vegetable Growers and Shippers Association; chairman of the produce recovery fund board, Austin; and chairman of the Texas Citrus and Vegetable Insurance Exchange, which he co-founded. He also was involved in the state’s onion and melon committees and the board of regents for his alma mater, where he was instrumental in creating the horticulture department and the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center.

Nationally, Showers sat on the board of directors of the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, Washington, D.C., from 1983-86.

Because of his expertise, former President George H.W. Bush appointed Showers to the Commission on Food and Food Distribution to Russia.

In 2003, he was inducted to the Department of Horticulture Hall of Fame at Texas A&M.

He is survived by his wife, Reba McDermott Showers, of the home; brother Jim of Hillsboro, Tex.; daughters Gay Hargis, McAllen, and Brenda Buell, Dallas; and four grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to any of the following causes: Children’s Building Fund, Calvary Baptist Church, 1600 Harvey, McAllen, TX 78501; Covenant Christian Academy, 4201 N. Ware Road, McAllen, TX 78504; Rio Grande Children’s Home, Route 11, Box 535, Mission, TX 78572; Reba and Wayne Showers ’53 Sul Ross Scholarship for Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets, Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840.

Texas produce industry leader dies