|Joe Sardinha, shown here picking apples in his Summerland orchard, died unexpectedly on Saturday night at age 52. Sardinha served as president of the B.C. Fruit Growers' Association from 2005 to 2011.|
The Summerland orchardist and former president of the B.C. Fruit Growers' Association died suddenly on Saturday night at age 52.
Universally known as "Joe" to all he met, Sardinha served as head of the BCFGA from 2005 to 2011.
"Joe's death was totally unexpected. Everywhere I went, people asked how Joe was keeping - out of admiration and respect for Joe. He loved his family, farming and the farm community. I speak for all tree fruit growers in saying we are deeply saddened by this news," said Jeet Dukhia, the current BCFGA president.
Peter Simonsen of Naramata, a BCFGA director, described Sardinha as a true, well-respected leader for the fruit industry during some tough economic times.
"Even though he was retired from his BCFGA president years, he still played an active role," Simonsen said. "He was still very concerned about the industry and he had a large impact on our industry. We've lost a great leader."
Simonsen said Sardinha's death was an obvious shock for everyone.
"Anytime anyone is taken away too soon it's a shock. It's a difficult, stressful industry to be involved in," he said.
Sardinha was well-known nationally, within both government and agricultural circles, Simonsen added.
"He could phone anyone in Canada and they knew who he was - anyone involved in government and other farm organizations," he said.
Sardinha is survived by his wife Julie and two grown children. Funeral details have not yet been announced.
The BCFGA represents 550 commercial tree fruit growers in B.C.