Laurie Rinard, whose 35-year career in the produce industry focused on grapes and stone fruit from California’s San Joaquin Valley, died May 20. She was 60.
Rinard, who most recently worked at Dayka & Hackett, Reedley, Calif., had a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma, according to a statement from longtime friend Tony Taviano of B&B Imports Inc., Visalia, Calif., and Patty Densen of Pacific Trellis Fruit’s Fresno, Calif., office.
“Laurie’s ability to connect with all types of buyers from all over the world served her well,” according to the statement. “Over the years many accounts would insist on doing business with her as they knew she would tell the truth, deliver as promised, and make any issues that arose as right as possible and as quickly as possible.”
Rinard’s daughter, Lindsey Scarbery, said her mother was a prime example of what a leader should be in a “tough and demanding industry.”
“Her consistent determination and enthusiastic outlook was the foundation on which her business relationships were built on,” Scarbery said, “and that’s simply why she was, and always will be, my role model.”
She started in the industry at Gerawan Farming, handling Prima brand tree fruits and grapes, also worked for PR Farms, Safeco, and Castle Rock Vineyards, according to the statement.
"Laurie was one of a handful of women who started a career in produce sales back in the 80s when it was a job handled mostly by men," said Eileen Weishaar, event business development manager for The Packer. "She had some uphill battles, but her determination was one of her greatest strengths. I will miss her friendship, sense of humor and loyalty most of all."
Over the past 16 months, as Rinard battled cancer, friends from the industry helped with contributions to a GoFundMe online account to pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance, and many people kept in touch with during the treatments, according to the statement.
More than 250 friends and family members attended a memorial service and celebration of life luncheon June 1 in Fresno. Survivors include her parents, Jay and Shirlene Hollis, daughter Lindsey Scarbery, and son Ryan Rinard.