(July 24) Steve Ewachow, a 42-year veteran of the produce industry and president of two companies with sales exceeding $100 million annually, died July 12. He was 72.

Ewachow served as president of Toronto-based Rite-Pak Produce Co. Ltd. and Provincial Fruit Co. Ltd., and remained active in both companies until recently. His resume was a veritable of laundry list of accolades.

In 2002, he received the Ottawa, Ontario-based Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s Honorary Lifetime Membership Award for his dedication to the produce industry. Four years before he was awarded the Ontario Produce Marketing Association’s Lifetime Acheivement Award. And in 1979 Ewachow was selected as The Packer’s Canadian Produce Man of the Year.

Ewachow served as president of the CPMA. He joined the board of the then-named Canadian Fruit Wholesalers Association in 1973 and remained a fixture at meetings until well into the 1980s.

Ian MacKenzie, executive vice president of the Ontario Produce Marketing Association, said Ewachow also served on the Canadian Board of Arbitration for several years in the early 1980s.

MacKenzie said his experience in the industry made him well-suited for the work.

“His thorough understanding of the trade made him a valuable asset to the board,” he said. “He had a consistent obligation to fairness in trade practices that he believed in strongly.”

MacKenzie said he will be remembered for the way he treated people and said he was a strong supporter of association-type work.

Jesse Pagliaroli, formerly general manager of Rite-Pak, has succeeded Ewachow as president. For him, Ewachow will be remembered every day of the company’s operation.

“He taught us honesty and integrity, and that is part of the basis of our business,” he said.

Ewachow is survived by his wife, Eileen; daughters Wanda, Karen, Sandra, Kathleen and Nancy; sons Stephen and Patrick; and 12 grandchildren. At Steve’s request, donations may be made to the Easter Seal Society of Ontario by contacting them at (416) 421-8377 or the Toronto Heart and Stroke Foundation at (416) 489-7100.