(March 8) Norman Holt “Buz” Bolstad, the first president of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council, died Feb. 18, at the age of 89.

Bolstad was born Nov. 20, 1914, in Los Angeles and was a graduate of University of California-Los Angeles. He had a distinguished career in the produce industry with numerous companies.

In 1965, Bolstad and other produce managers attended a seminar at the California Polytechnic State University in Pomona that was sponsored by produce brokers on the West Coast.

While there, produce industry leader Ralph Pinkerton suggested forming a produce council to help streamline produce operations.

A 15-person committee was formed to make up the first council, which came to be known as the Fresh Produce Council, and Bolstad was appointed its first president.

Other founding members were Jack Hodges, Harold Childs, Soll Gendel and Pinkerton.

Now the council is called the Fresh Produce & Floral Council.

The founding board of directors was made up of eight retailers, three growers, three sellers and one promotion manager.

The group under Bolstad’s leadership saw the need for a regional organization to provide communication and education on behalf of and for the fresh produce industry in Southern California, said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, Irvine, and a close associate of Bolstad.

Considering the regional organizations that have come together in other parts of the country, it is a tremendous tribute to Bolstad’s foresight that he could pull the FPFC together 20 to 30 years before other areas were able to do so, she said.

Bolstad’s leadership and influence on the council did not end when he left active service on the board of directors. As an example, he was the biggest supporter of taking the then-tabloid monthly publication of the council, The Digest, to a slick-stock magazine format.

Bolstad had a strong and kind style of leadership. His willingness to pursue what he believed, at the same time building a consensus with everyone around him, made him special in all facets of his life, DeLyser said.

In tribute to Bolstad’s leadership ability, DeLyser said, the council’s executive committee has renamed the Southern California Produce Achievement Award as the Norman H. “Buz” Bolstad Produce Award.

DeLyser said Bolstad was always ready and willing to share his vision for the council.

In 1938 he married Virginia Von der Ahe, who preceded him in death in 1999. Bolstad is survived by four children: Diane Baumgardner, David, Linda Moore, and Bill; 18 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He also is survived by his brother, William Bolstad.

Funeral mass was celebrated Feb. 24 at Sts. Felicitas & Perpetua Church in San Marino, Calif. Memorial contributions may be made to the City of Hope, 1500 E. Duarte Rd., Duarte, CA 91010.