(May 21) NOGALES, Ariz. — Benjamin Bon Bustamante, whose children manage grower-shipper Wilson-Batiz LLC, died May 20. He was 83.
Bon grew tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans and bell peppers for Wilson-Batiz since the shipper of Mexican produce was formed in 1999. The company was created when two Nogales-based interests, James K. Wilson Co. and Raul Batiz, the founder of RB Packing, merged.
Before the merger, Bon grew produce for James K. Wilson Co., which was owned by his father- and mother-in-law. That company was formed in 1965.
Bon is survived by his wife of 50 years, Barbara, and their three children, Benjamin Bon, Alicia Bon Martin and Barbara Lundstrom. Bon also is survived by seven grandchildren.
Bon’s son, Benjamin Bon, serves as the chief executive officer of Wilson-Batiz. He has overseen packing operations of that company and James K. Wilson Co. for about 18 years, said Alicia Bon Martin, who is in charge of value-added operations at Wilson-Batiz.
Barbara Lundstrom handles the company’s accounts in its collections department.
Bon grew produce on a more than 1,000-acre farm in Sinaloa, Mexico, for his entire life. In addition to the products he grew for Wilson-Batiz, Bon produced cantaloupe and peas.
Though he was more involved in the farming business than packing operations, Martin said her brother, Benjamin, always ran Wilson Co. and Wilson-Batiz with his father’s input.
Martin said her father was involved in farming up until his death. Though he couldn’t drive himself, she said he would have someone drive him through his fields on a regular basis.
Martin also said her father, who was a pilot and avid tennis player, was a lover of great food and reading.
Services were planned for May 22 at the Sacred Heart Church in Nogales. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bon’s name to the Santa Cruz County Community Foundation, P.O. Box 6286, Nogales, AZ, 85628.