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Karen Pool Carlson, who paved the way for women in the produce industry, dies at 77

Karen Ruth Pool Carlson, a female trailblazer in California's produce industry, died April 7 following a long illness. She was 77.

Ms. Carlson was born in Salt Lake City and relocated to Bakersfield, CA, where she resided for 40 years. She first began her produce career in 1972 at Tenneco West, where she worked as a marketing manager for 14 years. KarenCarlsonAfter that, she was director of sales and marketing at Cal World, where she pioneered the development of baby carrots in consumer-friendly packages, and was one of the first to see the potential in packaging sliced apples in individual two-ounce bags.

For the last 18 years, Ms. Carlson was a produce broker for Western Veg-Produce. She was also a director on the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association (now known as the United Fresh Produce Association) board and had many other industry affiliations.

"We will miss Karen's smile, her spark and generosity, and her stubbornly independent approach to life," according to a Western Veg-Produce press release.

Ms. Carlson is survived by her children, Mark, Bret and Stacy; daughters-in-law Ann and Susan; six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She will be buried in Salt Lake City next to her parents, Bessie and Maynard T. Pool.