Catania Worldwide mourns Sam Bertucci
Salvatore (Sam) Bertucci, who spent much of his life in the produce industry and the last 21 years at Catania Worldwide, died Saturday, April 10 in his home. He was 69 years old.
A veteran in the produce industry, Mr. Bertucci began his career at a very young age, working in his family’s supermarket in Toronto. His 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 the company said his knowledge and dedication will never be forgotten.
"Sam was a special man in many ways," said Paul Catania, president of Catania Worldwide. "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 he and I were 21 years of age and loading trucks at the Ontario Food Terminal when Provincial Fruit began," continued Catania. "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.
"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," he said. "Sam was a guiding hand for me, my sons, and all my staff, all these years, our go-to for so many questions. I will miss my friend very much."
Mr. Bertucci 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, as well as 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," said Mario Masellis, director of sales and marketing for Catania Worldwide. "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. I 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.”
His passion for family, horses, produce and mentoring made him a remarkable storyteller and an even better teacher to all the Catania staff. "His knowledge never failed to amaze anyone who would speak to him, and we at Catania will miss him deeply," the company said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and daughters during this incredibly difficult time."
Mr. Bertucci is survived by his wife, Linda, and two daughters, Sarah and Andrea.