Taro “Tommy” Uchizono, one of the founders of the LTD stone fruit label, died March 22 in Los Angeles. He was 89. He had retired from Giumarra Companies in 2001.
Born on March 22, 1922, Uchizono entered the produce industry following his service in Italy with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II. Upon his return to civilian life, Uchizono founded Bear Produce and Metro Produce. He also worked with Child Bros.
In the early 1960s he and Don Jost convinced Don Corsaro of Giumarra Bros. Fruit Co. to begin marketing fruit out of the San Joaquin Valley. Together they founded the LTD label and were among the first in the industry to market tree-ripened fruit, according to a news release from the company.
Corsaro, president of the Los Angeles Giumarra Cos., said in the release that Uchizono was his partner, mentor and friend.
“Together, Tommy and I opened Giumarra’s Nogales and Escondido offices in the 1970s. His character and reputation helped build the company. He did not ever say much, but when he did, everyone listened. He was a very kind and generous man,” Corsaro said.
Uchizono’s son, Craig Uchizono, is now Giumarra’s vice president for the Southern Hemisphere.
Funeral services are scheduled for 3 p.m. April 3 at Wintersburg Presbyterian Church, 2000 N. Fairview St. in Santa Ana, Calif.