By Doug Ohlemeier, The Packer

A member of a pioneering Florida tomato growing family has died.

Paul R. Dickman, 60, died July 13 after a long battle with cancer.

Dickman and his brothers Glenn Dickman and Ned Dickman ran Ruskin, Fla.-based Artesian Farms Inc., which packs through Tomatoes of Ruskin Inc. The Dickmans, along with Jim Grainger and Frank Diehl, share ownership of the packinghouse.

Paul R. Dickman was the grandson of family patriarch Paul B. Dickman, who from 1949-51 was the first president of the Produce Prepackaging Association, which later became the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.

Paul B. Dickman was also one of the original founders of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Maitland.

Reggie Brown, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee, Maitland, and executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, Maitland, said the Dickman family helped bring the Palmetto-Ruskin agricultural deal to prominence.

"The family has been longtime pioneers in the business," Brown said.