(Sept. 5) An East Coast produce brokerage plans to continue in business after its owner and founder drowned.

Mark Vincent “Chick” Ciccarelli, owner of Riverside Fruit & Vegetable Sales Inc., Fort Pierce, Fla., died July 24 at Lake Murray near Prosperity, S.C.

The 53-year-old Ciccarelli, who worked the South Carolina peach deal from his summer home west of Columbia, S.C., drowned while trying to retrieve his pontoon boat that had broken loose from a dock during a storm.

Ciccarelli, who had been chasing the boat from the shoreline, ran out of breath while swimming toward the boat during a squall, said Lewis Graiver, Riverside’s general manager and comptroller.

Cathy Ciccarelli, Mark Ciccarelli’s widow, plans to take over ownership of the produce brokerage business. Graiver, who has worked for Riverside since 2004, said he didn’t think Cathy Ciccarelli would take an active role in the brokerage and sales agency that specializes in representing citrus and peach growers as well as other produce.

“We will be here to stay and will be operating and continuing the business,” Graiver said.

Mark Ciccarelli started the 25-year-old company that moved from Vero Beach, Fla., to Fort Pierce after a 2002 fire destroyed company offices and a packinghouse that Ciccarelli formerly co-owned, Florida River Packing Inc.

Riverside ships under the Dragon, War Bonnet and River Deluxe labels. The company, which has $10 million in annual sales, also has a seasonal office in Monetta, S.C., for the peach deal.

Ciccarelli also ran his own trucking firm, Graiver said.

Ciccarelli also is survived by a daughter, Rachel, 14; sons Michael Steven, 33, and Christopher, 17; as well as his parents, two brothers and four sisters.

A scholarship fund has been set up in his name at the St. Anastasia Catholic School; 401 S. 33rd, Fort Pierce, FL 34947.