(Jan. 16) Anthony Francis Colagiovanni, lead buyer for Ephrata, Pa.-based Four Seasons Produce Inc., died Jan. 11 after a year-long fight against leukemia.

Colagiovanni committed his entire career to the produce industry, starting with the Reider’s Stop-n-Shop, Solon, Ohio, in 1972. He was with Reider’s for 26 years, leaving the company in 1998 as director of produce operations and head buyer. He joined Four Seasons in 2000 as a member of its buying team and was promoted to lead buyer in 2005.

“Anybody who knows Tony knows that he comes with just an infectious attitude — a positive one,” said Ron Carkoski, president and chief executive officer of Four Seasons. “People liked Tony, liked to work for him and liked to work with him.”

Carkoski said Colagiovanni’s experience in retail with Reider’s helped both Four Seasons’ retail and wholesale customers.

He continued to work following his diagnosis in February 2007. As his disease progressed and the treatments got more intense, he worked when he could, Carkoski said. Colagiovanni’s last day with the company was in early October.

“He had a lot of support from our vendors, associates and buyers,” Carkoski said. “His wife, Holly, when she called me to tell me of his passing, said that they had both talked about how there was a reason he was with Four Seasons when this happened, and that they couldn’t have gotten through it without the industry.”

One of Four Seasons’ transportation services donated a weeklong stay in a villa on a beach, which Four Seasons raffled to raise $8,000 for Colagiovanni’s family.

“It was all done through the industry, through our customers and associates,” Carkoski said. “Tony absolutely loved working here, not just because of Four Seasons but because of the whole industry and his customers and coworkers.”

Survivors include his wife of 24 years, Holly; and three children, Jason, Gina and Antonette.

Funeral services were scheduled for Jan. 18 at Monreal Funeral Home in Eastlake, Ohio.

Lead buyer for Four Seasons Produce dies