The fresh produce industry is mourning the loss of Jan Fleming, chief executive officer of Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. in Chicago, who died May 1 at the age of 67. She is remembered by Director of Finance Lisa Strube as a woman with a pioneering spirit who mentored generations to come.
Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. was founded in 1913 by Ms. Fleming's grandfather, Fred Strube. Her father, Robert Strube Sr., took over the reins of the company in the 1930s. Ms. Fleming was the third generation of the closeknit family to continue in a leadership position.
"She was a very close, personal friend. Jan had a heart of gold," Ms. Strube told The Produce News. "She touched people in a very special way. She led the way for women in this industry. But it was her heart that was so special."
Ms. Fleming attended Luther College and graduated in the late 1960s. She taught for a brief period of time, but realized that involvement with the family business was her true calling, according to Ms. Strube. Growth of the company's fruit division was one of many successes that marked her career.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, May 5 from 3-8 p.m. at the North Shore Methodist Church in Glencoe, IL. A memorial service has been schedule at the church for Monday, May 6 at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor the memory of Ms. Fleming are encouraged to make a contribution to the Jan and Tim Fleming Scholarship for Minority Women Majoring in Business, care of Luther College Development Office, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101; or the Jan Fleming Memorial at North Shore United Methodist Church, 213 Hazel, Glencoe, IL 60022.