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February 3, 2017

Western Growers Mourns Loss of Ag Icon Tom Russell

Pacific International Marketing president, Tom Russell, passed away on Tuesday, January 31, in Phoenix. Russell was a member of Western Growers since 1990. At the time of his death, he was involved in about 40 business partnerships, including several with Western Growers’ directors and members. Russell combined his financial and sales talents to become one of the most successful marketers on the West Coast in the fresh produce industry.     

He was born in Phoenix on November 3, 1951. Although he eventually established himself as a bona-fide and iconic member of the industry, Russell did not become involved in agriculture until later in his career when he began work in the mid-1970s for the J.A Wood Company following a highly-successful career in martial arts.

“Tom excelled at anything he did, whether it was personal or business related,” recalled Matt McInerney, Western Growers senior executive vice president. “His big personality and business skills certainly contributed to his success and made him an icon of the industry. He was ‘a man for all seasons’ and will be deeply missed.”  

He leaves behind his wife Carol of 33 years, three daughters, Sarah, Anna and Olivia, and his son John who works for Rousseau Farming in Tolleson, Arizona.