Long-time Save Mart produce executive Greg Calistro, 59, has died.

Calistro, recently director of produce & floral at Modesto, Calif.-based Save Mart Supermarkets died Dec. 18 after a sudden illness, according to an obituary on Legacy.com, from the Modesto Bee. Several produce industry leaders left comments in the site’s online guest book, praising Calistro’s warm personality, positive spirit and industry contributions in volunteer leadership positions.

Jin Ju Wilder, Produce Marketing Association chairwoman and director of marketing at LA & SF Specialty, Los Angeles, Calif., said Jan. 3 that she first came to know Calistro when she was with Coast Produce and the company supplied fresh produce to Save Mart. Calistro also served with Wilder on the PMA board in 2011-12.

“He was very personable, very caring, very approachable and generous with his time and ideas,” she said.

“He will be missed within the industry from a lot of different perspectives, not just his role at Save Mart but (also) being so kind and generous with his time,” Wilder said.

Calistro worked in the grocery industry for 43 years, the last 29 employed by The Save Mart Cos.

Calistro worked in the grocery industry for 43 years, the last 29 employed by The Save Mart Cos. Calistro started with Save Mart as a produce clerk in 1988. According to Save Mart, his roles at the company included:

  • Produce and floral merchandiser (2004);
  • Produce director (2007);
  • Executive director, team sales and produce (2010);
  • Executive director, customer solutions (2013); and;
  • Vice president, produce and foodservice (2017).

He has served on the boards of several industry and charitable organizations, including the Produce Marketing Association, Produce for Better Health Foundation, and the City of Hope.

Calistro is survived by his wife, Joni Calistro of Turlock, Calif., sons, Andrew Calistro, Turlock, Ryan (Holliday) Calistro of Ripon, daughter Erica (Robb) Burns of Rochester, Mich., and four grandchildren.

A celebration of life for Calistro is set for 11 a.m. Jan. 5 at New Life Christian Center in Turlock, according to Legacy.com. Memorial gifts may be given in his name to “City of Hope” at 1500 E. Duarte Rd., Duarte, Calif., 91010, or a charity of the giver’s choice.