(Aug. 15, 11:00 a.m.) Paul Hooge, a 70-year veteran of the Texas produce industry, died July 12, two days shy of his 84th birthday.

Hooge, a former sales manager at Plantation Produce Co., Mission, Texas, was inducted into the Texas Produce Association’s Hall of Fame in 2000.

He is remembered as a hard worker, like many in his generation, said Oscar Gonzalez, general manger of Sharyland Farms LLC, Mission.

“They work until the day they die — that was their generation’s style of work ethics,” Gonzalez said. “Produce is in their blood.”

Hooge got his start in the produce industry at age 11 working at his family’s general store and produce business in Poteet, Texas, a town now famous for the Poteet Strawberry Festival, which Hooge helped organize in 1948.

According to the Texas Produce Association, Mission, Hooge also was instrumental in designing and building refrigerated trucks to haul Poteet strawberries to distant markets.

Hooge and his brothers started their own growing, packing and shipping operation sourcing out of the Winter Garden, San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley regions in Texas as well as New Mexico, Colorado and California. They operated the L.A. Hooge Co., until the mid-1960s.

After that, he moved to the Rio Grande Valley and worked for several companies, eventually joining Plantation Produce.

He served as a director on the board of the Texas Citrus and Vegetable Association from 1981 to 1983 and was a veteran of World War II.

He is survived by his wife, Catherine Hooge, and daughters Sandra Fewell and Paula Yarosh.

A funeral was Wednesday, July 16, with internment following at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.

Texas produce veteran Hooge dies at age 83