(Aug. 1) EDINBURG, Texas — As the Texas citrus season begins this October, Texas Citrus Exchange and Edinburg Citrus Association will be missing two familiar faces.

Jack Carithers, vice president of fresh fruit sales for Texas Citrus Exchange for 15 years, and Dwayne Bair, general manager of Edinburg Citrus Association for 17 years, resigned effective July 18. The citrus association is a grower’s cooperative, and the exchange sells the fresh fruit and juice produced by the cooperative.

Carithers, 65, said the Texas Citrus Exchange board asked for his resignation after members expressed concerns about returns. Bair, 68, also submitted a resignation letter, said Larry Cade, former controller of the citrus association who will be the acting general manager for a year. After that, Cade said, the board will decide whether to name him general manager.

“They (citrus association board members) just wanted to go in a different direction,” Cade said. “They wanted to try something different.”

Carithers said he’ll take about a month off, but he might be involved in the coming season as a consultant to the industry.

“Some people have already called me with opportunities,” Carithers said. “I’m going to take some time off, kick around doing nothing.”

In the fall of 2000, Bair was inducted into the Texas Produce Hall of Fame. Before joining the citrus association, he was a citrus and vegetable grower, working with family members.

Many acquaintances said Carithers’ experience at retail chains helped him sell Texas oranges and grapefruit. Carithers started his produce career in 1963, at Atlanta-based Colonial Stores, serving in a variety of positions, including produce merchandiser for 42 stores and produce buying for all commodities for the Atlanta division.

In 1969, he worked for Sunkist Growers Inc.’s Atlanta district sales office, moving to Texas in 1975 to join the Texas Citrus Exchange. Four years later, he took over Supervalu Inc.’s McAllen, Texas, buying office, followed by a brief stints with Topco in McAllen, and McManus-Wyatt Produce Co., Weslaco, Texas.

After joining Sun Valley Foods as sales manager in 1984 and Mission, Texas, shipper Plantation Produce Co. in 1986, he returned to Texas Citrus Exchange as vice president of fresh sales in July 1987.