Bob Antle, Founding Member Of Tanimura & Antle, Dies At 78

Robert V. (Bob) Antle, founding member of Tanimura & Antle, and leader in the produce industry, died on Aug 3 with family by his side at the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital in California.

Antle was born on Nov. 10, 1935, in Watsonville, CA, to Lester (Bud) and Delores (Polly) Antle. While a student in 1949, he joined his father, Bud Antle, and grandfather, Lester Antle, at the family’s lettuce harvest operation. During this time, he worked as a loader, met the Tanimura family and developed the relationships that eventually led to the formation of Tanimura & Antle, Inc.

Bob Antle
Bob Antle

After graduating from Stanford, his first job was directing the company’s carrot business, “Antle Carrots.” He then moved into sales and marketing, eventually becoming the general sales manager.

Antle is credited with implementing several major produce industry initiatives such as wrapping fresh vegetables in the field (1960), developing distribution centers for the introduction of wrapped lettuce and other source packaged fruits and vegetables (1965), and producing crop transplants (1970). Prior to his passing, he focused on Immigration reform and the Monterey County and California water crisis.

He was the recent recipient of the Grower-Shipper Association’s E.E. (Gene) Harden Award for Lifetime Achievement in Central Coast Agriculture. This honor celebrated Antle for his lasting and significant contributions to agriculture as well as his extensive and longtime generosity to many philanthropic and educational institutions and endeavors throughout the Monterey County community.  In 2009, he was awarded the Ben Heller Award by the Center for Community Advocacy for his courage and leadership in supporting farm workers. In 2013, the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council of the Boy Scouts honored Antle with The Growing of Future Leaders Award.

In the mid-’60s, he relocated to the East Coast to develop House of Bud, a wholesaler of fruits and vegetables.  Under his leadership and direction, House of Bud opened facilities in New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Brussels, Belgium.

In 1972, after his father Bud Antle passed away at age 58, Antle became chief executive officer of all Antle entities. After six years of further developing and growing these businesses, he merged the Bud Antle companies with Castle & Cooke, Inc. (now Dole Food Co. Inc.) and joined its senior management. He served on the Castle & Cooke board of directors until 1982.

After his departure from Castle & Cooke, Antle, along with his sons, Rick and Mike, formed Tanimura & Antle with George Tanimura and his brothers, Charlie, Johnny, Tommy, and Bobby and nephews, Gary and Keith.  This partnership joined the Antles’ strong packing and shipping expertise with the Tanimuras’ growing expertise.

Bob and George Tanimura became co-chairmen of the board when the partnership formalized and the two families combined more than 50 years of mutual friendship, respect, and experience to create Tanimura & Antle. Antle was a great leader and mentor to so many in the company and industry. The success of Tanimura & Antle can be attributed to Antle’s appreciation for the company’s employees and his belief in their abilities.

Antle was co-chairman of the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute, president of Southern Arizona Ranch Co. LLC, president of Pinnacalitos Chalone LP, past president of the President’s Council at California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB), and founding president of Central Coast Water Quality Preservation, Inc. He also actively supported the University of Arizona. In March 2005, he was appointed to the California State Senate Commission of Agricultural Worker Housing & Health. He was a recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from California State University, Monterey Bay, and the Community Foundation for Monterey County honored both Bob and Sue with the 2010 Distinguished Trustee Award.

He is survived by:  his wife, Sue Antle; his brother, Kenneth Antle, Tucson, AZ; his sons, Rick L. (Tonya) Antle, Mike V. (Cass) Antle; and his twin daughters, Kathy (Vince Ciolino) Della-Rose, Karen (Joseph) Hebl of Eau Claire, WI; along with his 21 grandchildren and a great-grandson.

A celebration of life ceremony will be held on Monday, August, 11, 2014 at 5 p.m. at the CSUMB World Theater.  In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests that donations be made directly to one of Bob’s favorite charities/organizations:  The Bob Antle Scholarship Fund, c/o CSUMB 100 Campus Center, Seaside CA 93955; The Salvation Army of Monterey, 1491 Contra Costa St, Seaside, CA 93955; or the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, 100 Campus Center, Building 86E, CSUMB, Seaside, CA 93955.

Click here to read an interview with George Tanimura, the patriarch of the Tanimura family, and find out more about the history of Tanimura & Antle.

Source: Tanimura & Antle news release

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