Dewey Gargiulo, a legend in the fresh tomato business and founder of the Naples-based Gargiulo Inc., passed away May 9 after a long illness. He was 84.
His leadership skills from the Marines followed him when he began his career in the produce industry. First, he worked for his uncle in the Bronx produce market in New York, later coming to Immokalee, FL, to farm tomatoes in 1952. Soon after arrival, he recognized that creating a high-quality brand was an opportunity to grow the business. His high-quality packing became the industry standard.
“Dewey was a forward thinking leader of the Florida tomato industry,” says Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange. “He was founder of the Florida Tomato Exchange, which continues to serve the industry today.”
Despite his outgoing personality, Gargiulo never wanted attention drawn to himself. A closed private service was held for the family and a few friends.