Florida strawberry growers mourned the death of two industry members.
Eddie Jones, co-owner of Gulf Coast Produce Inc., Dover, Fla., died Aug. 11, one day after friends and family celebrated his 62nd birthday.
Rodney Hutto, 52, a Plant City, Fla., grower and board member of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Dover, died Aug. 13.
Jones, Sidney, Fla., retired after working 42 years for CSX Railroad, and also owned Brandon Farms, Brandon, Fla., since 1979 and was a part owner of San-Way Farms Inc., Dover.
Jones and growers Joe Goodson and Wayne Moss founded Gulf Coast in 2000.
Shawn Pollard, salesman for Astin Strawberry Exchange LLC, Plant City, said Jones was highly supportive of people.
"He was a jewel of a friend," Pollard said. "He was a gentle grower. This was a real loss to the industry."
Jones is survived by a daughter, two granddaughters, a fiancÃ© and her daughter. The funeral services was Aug. 15.
For 26 years, Hutto and his parents, Lee and Pat Hutto, owned H&H Farms, Plant City.
Hutto later joined Wishnatzki Farms, Plant City, where he became quality control manager of Trapnell Road Farms.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with him," said Gary Wishnatzki, president of Wishnatzki Farms. "He will be missed by the entire community."
In lieu of flowers, the Hutto family requests memorial contributions may be made to the Florida Strawberry Growers Association Scholarship Fund in Hutto's memory at P.O. Box 2550, Plant City, Fla., 33564.
Lee Hutto said his son was always interested in helping and mentoring young people.
Hutto is survived by his wife, his parents, two children and a sister.
Services for Hutto are scheduled for Aug. 20.