The Star Group has announced the passing of Leo Baribeau, founder of Star Produce and former chairman of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. David Karwacki, CEO of The Star Group, shared the following statement:
"We lost a great friend and partner. Leo Baribeau passed away September 24th at the age of 73. Leo’s wife Ginny, and daughter Sheila, were at his side as he left this world peacefully with the people he loved most.
"Leo had an iconic presence in the produce industry. He was a founding member of The Star Group, Chairman of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association in 2003, and Chairman of the Canadian Horticultural Round Table. He received awards for the CPMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, and The Packer Canadian Produce Person of the Year in 2004. Along with this, his work on many national and international boards and task forces, he helped to shape the fresh produce industry across North America.
"Leo was a great storyteller and could always capture a crowd with his sense of humour. His true gift was that he always had time for people. Leo would spend the time to mentor, teach, and coach so many, giving of himself and sacrificing for others. He will be dearly missed by all."
The following is an obituary as published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:
"Leo was born to Gregoire and Maria Baribeau on March 22, 1946 in Edam, SK and raised in Vawn, SK and Lloydminster, AB. He passed away at St. Paul's Hospital on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at the age of 73. He started his career with OK Economy Stores in North Battleford where he met Virginia Wiegers, his wife of 51 years. In 1989 he was involved in the founding of Star Produce which is now The Star Group and remained there until his retirement in 2006.
"Throughout his career he was chairman of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, chairman of the Canadian Horticultural Roundtable, and sat on many national, international, and provincial fruit and vegetable boards and task forces. He was predeceased by his parents Gregoire and Maria, Virginia's parents Norbert and Elizabeth Wiegers, sisters Delores (Len) O'Connor, Lillian (Don) Muirhead, Anita (Steve) MacNeil, brother Greg, niece Tara Wiegers, and nephew Derek Oliphant.
"He leaves to remember him, his wife Virginia and daughter Sheila, brother Robert, sister Denise (Bob) Buckley, sister-in-law Wyonne Baribeau, in-laws David (Adele) Wiegers, Gerald (Bernadette) Wiegers, Anne (Doug) Sandbeck, Theresa (Kelly) Oliphant, Janet (Louis) Christ, and numerous nieces and nephews.
"The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church (114 Kingsmere Place) in Saskatoon. Memorial donations may be made to Prostate Cancer Canada (2 Lombard Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto Ontario M5C 1M1)."