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Industry leader Mark S. Hanks mourned

Mark S. Hanks, a long-time executive formerly with DNE World Fruit, died surrounded by his loving family on Wednesday, June 29, just shy of his 72nd birthday.

Mr. Hanks was born on July 2, 1950 in Kilgore, TX, and grew up in Southern California.  He attended UC-Santa Barbara before pursuing his acting and dance career in New York City and Los Angeles. His love for the performing arts took him from being a high school gymnast to dancing with the Joffrey Ballet and acting and performing in the theatre.

After meeting his future wife, Dianne, Mr. Hanks elected to take a different path and entered the produce industry in 1979 as a sales manager for Westpac Imports in California.  His introduction to the industry developed into a lifelong passion. 

Relocating to Vero Beach, FL, in 1989, Mr. Hanks joined Ocean Spray Cranberries as sales manager for the North American citrus division. In 1997, Ocean Spray formed a strategic alliance with DNE World Fruit Sales (Bernard Egan & Co.) to market fresh citrus from around the globe. 

In 2004, Mr. Hanks was appointed vice president of sales and marketing at DNE, where he successfully developed major import programs of fresh citrus from four continents. In 2017, Wonderful Citrus acquired DNE.  Mr. Hanks retired from his senior director position in 2018 having enjoyed 30 years in the industry.

Throughout his career and global travels, Mr. Hanks made lifelong friendships that were so meaningful in his life.  With his dazzling smile and charm, he lit up every room and was always the guy you wanted to be with at a dinner party, sharing a glass of red wine.

“I had the privilege and honor in meeting Mark over 40 years ago when he was a representative for Ocean Spray," said Domenic Raso, co-CEO of Burnac Produce Ltd. "We immediately connected and our business and personal relationship grew from there. I have so many fond memories, including hunting down French wines and sharing many great meals together. Mark always made you feel very special and brightened up your day whenever you were in his presence."

“It was a pleasure and an honor to work with Mark in the citrus business for 20 years," said Greg Nelson, president of Bernard Egan & Co. "He was a very thoughtful person with a genuinely kind heart for others and had a real gift for connecting with people."

Mr. Hanks was a member of St. Helen Catholic Parish. He is survived by his wife, Dianne, their son, Leland, and their daughter, Anna Jagolinzer and her husband David.

Mr. Hanks is also survived by his mother, Dama, who had just celebrated her 100 birthday with him, as well as his two brothers, Robert and Jim, and his sister, Dama Lou Brener. He is preceded in death by his father, Louis Hanks. As his final act, for the last year-and-a-half, Mr. Hanks courageously battled the challenges of Multiple Myeloma with the full support of his family. A celebration of life will be held at a future date this year.

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