( Photo courtesy Freshway Foods; graphic by Amelia Freidline )

Roman Gabriel Smith, director of procurement at Freshway Foods, Sidney, Ohio, has died.

Smith died April 2 after a 2 1/2-year battle with cancer; he was 47.

He worked for the last 12 years at Freshway.

Melissa Olsen, director of national accounts, said in a statement that Smith was respected industry-wide for his character and integrity. 

But he was more than that, she said.  

“To many of us at Freshway, he was like a brother — the dry, witty, funny brother that often poked fun, but also welcomed it with open arms,” Olsen said in the statement. “He had an unbelievable talent for being able to lighten the mood and bring smiles to our faces.”

Smith graduated from the United Fresh Leadership program and Cornell Executive Leadership.

At Freshway, Smith handled produce, packaging and in-bound freight contracting.

“Above all else, he was considered fair and reasonable. You get nothing done in this industry if you are not a team player, and Roman was the consummate team player. And man, was he a fighter. I have never met anyone stronger and more determined,” Devon Beer, president of Freshway, said in the statement.

Smith is survived by his wife, Tina; two sons, Roman Gabriel Smith Peyton and Caiden; and his daughter, Kenna. 

A celebration of life is tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. June 6, at Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio.

Memorial contributions may be made for a trust for Smith’s children, sent to Zechar Bailey Funeral Home, 1499 N. Broadway, Greenville, Ohio, 45331, or to the family directly.

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