(UPDATED CONTENT, March 4) An overflow crowd of family, friends, produce industry colleagues and others turned out for the funeral service of David Simonian March 3.

A lifelong member of California’s fresh fruit industry and co-owner of Simonian Fruit Co., Fowler, Simonian, 64, died Feb. 26 after a lengthy illness.

“David was a tremendously well loved and respected individual who served his community and his family well,” said Barry Bedwell, president of the Fresno-based California Grape & Tree Fruit League.

That love and respect were reflected in the large number of mourners who attended the funeral at St. Gregory Armenian Church, he said.

“They filled the church, they filled the adjacent social hall, and still more people had to stand outside of the buildings,” Bedwell said.

A Fowler native, Simonian and his brother, Jim Simonian, marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of Simonian Fruit Co. last year. They took over the family business when their father, Coche Simonian, died suddenly in the early 1960s.

Simonian Fruit grows, packs, ships and markets table grapes, stone fruit, persimmons and pomegranates under the Simco and Summeripe labels.

Simonian also took over another family business, C.D. Simonian Insurance.

He is survived by Patti, his wife of 34 years; sons Jeffrey and Jonathan Simonian; and his daughter, Kristen Simonian.

The family requests remembrances in Simonian’s memory to St. Gregory Armenian Church or the Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation, 55 Temperance Ave., Clovis, Calif., 93612.

California fruit grower-shipper David Simonian dies

File photo

David Simonian checks to see how pomegranates are maturing in 2004. He died Feb. 26.