Industry mourns loss of SEPC leader

08/11/2014 10:44:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

RUSKIN, Fla. — Terry Vorhees, executive director of the Southeast Produce Council, was remember as a respected husband, father and originator of one of the leading regional produce organizations.

Terry VorheesVorheesVorhees, 64, died July 30 after a short battle with lung cancer.

About 50 produce industry people paid tribute to Vorhees at an Aug. 9 memorial service.

“Terry was a man of passion and dedication,” said Andrew Scott, council president and director of marketing and business development for the Atlanta-based Nickey Gregory Co. LLC. “He single-handedly grew the council from a few members to over 1,000. That was a pleasure to watch.”

Scott and others said Vorhees preferred to focus attention on the council rather than himself and during the service, Scott read a series of tributes from council members.

“Terry touched many people and made a difference,” said former council president Rick Estess, Watkinsville, Ga.-based regional sales manager for RPE Inc., Bancroft, Wis.

In 1999, former council president Tom Page, retired East Coast procurement manager for the Lakeland office of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu Inc., was one of six industry members including Vorhees who founded the group.

“He had a passion for people, family and friends,” Page said. “I found Terry to be a very smart person. He placed people in the council that he knew would help the council grow.”

Faye Westfall, sales manager of Riverview-based DiMare Fresh-Tampa Inc., said many in the industry had a shared bond with Vorhees.

“Terry seemed to bring people together,” she said. “He always brought the good out in everyone.”

“If we tried to pick one word to describe Terry it would be ‘devoted,’” said former council president Al Finch, president of the Dundee-based Florida Classic Growers. “The Lord has definitely blessed us in allowing Terry to be a part of our lives.”

A Logan, Ohio, native, Vorhees is survived by his wife Beverly; two sons from his previous marriage to Susan Angle; two stepsons, his mother, two brothers, a sister, and three grandchildren.

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