"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our friend and colleague, Sam (Salvatore) Bertucci," says a press release from Catania Worldwide. Sam passed away Saturday, April 10th in his home, and is survived by his wife Linda and two daughters Sarah and Andrea.
A veteran in the produce industry, Sam began his career at a very young age working in his family’s supermarket in Toronto. Sam’s career at the Ontario Food Terminal was interwoven with several companies and many lives, before joining Catania Worldwide. He spent 21 years at Catania and his knowledge and dedication will never be forgotten.
“Sam was a special man in many ways. He had an extremely strong work ethic, a very dry but great sense of humor and he was a walking produce encyclopedia…but you had to ask! Sam spoke five languages and was our go-to in-house doctor. He spent seven years interning at the old Queensway Hospital. Sam was an extremely intelligent man."
“I first met Sam when we were 21 years old and loading trucks at the Ontario Food Terminal, when Provincial Fruit began. Our paths kept crossing--I as a broker, and Sam in charge of tropical produce at Ontario Produce, until to my great good fortune, he came to work for me 21 years ago," says Paul Catania.
“Over the years, I enjoyed catching him eating sweets, or salami, neither of which he was supposed to eat, and I would say "Hey, what you got there?" It was worth it just to get that look from him! Sam was a guiding hand for me, my sons, and all my staff, all these years. I will miss my friend very much," Catania continued.
“Sam played a significant role in guiding Catania Worldwide on the path that would see the company grow to be one of the largest players in the in the U.S and Canadian produce market," the release continued. "He helped introduce many new commodities and varieties into the marketplace. His guidance and forward thinking made an impact that has forever left an imprint on the company."
“I first met Sam when I began working at the Ontario Food Terminal in 1995. As competitors, I quickly came to respect his knowledge of produce. When I joined him at Catania Worldwide as a colleague, I quickly came to respect and appreciate the man," says Mario Masellis. "I’ll dearly miss the impromptu learning sessions and chats. Looking forward to sharing more stories when I see him on the other side. Riposa in pace.”
Sam’s passion for family, horses, produce and mentoring made him a remarkable storyteller and an even better teacher to Catania staff. We at Catania will miss him deeply. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and daughters during this incredibly difficult time.