Tim Wetherbee, sales manager for Hammonton, N.J.-based Diamond Blueberry and a longtime advocate for the New Jersey blueberry industry, died Nov. 8.

He was 68 years old, according to his obituary on the Carnesale Funeral Home website. Wetherbee was a member of the New Jersey Blueberry Growers Association and the North American Blueberry Council, and he served as chairman of the New Jersey Blueberry Industry Advisory Council.

He had also been appointed as the New Jersey representative for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

Tim Wetherbee 1992
A photo of Tim Wetherbee from the 1992 New Jersey Produce section of The Packer

Mark Villata, executive director of the council, said in a statement that Wetherbee had been an important member of the organization since it began in 2000.

“He’s served on a number of our committees and was a great asset to our council, and we will miss him very much,” Villata said.

New Jersey agriculture secretary Douglas Fisher described Wetherbee as a good man, a phenomenal grower and a brilliant marketer who had the foresight to emphasize the health benefits of blueberries long before talk about antioxidants became mainstream.

“He was really a giant in the industry,” Fisher said.

Wetherbee pursued a similar professional path as his father Alex, who founded Diamond Blueberry and the North American Blueberry Council. Alex died in 1997.

Tim Wetherbee is survived by his wife Francisca, daughter Veronica, brother Greg and sister-in-law Sandy, and sister Cindy.