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Produce lifer Christopher Shinn Gardella mourned

Christopher Shinn Gardella, who spent more than 50 years working in the produce industry, died in Oxnard, CA, Monday, Sept. 13. He was 68.

Mr. Gardella began his esteemed 44-year produce career in 1977 in Philadelphia, where he learned the agribusiness of deciduous fruits from the ground up. His work spanned the globe and often took him to Chile.

During the 1990s Mr. Gardella moved to Bakersfield, CA, and worked for several growers in marketing and sales capacities. Most recently, he started his own sales and marketing firm, CSG Marketing, selling specialty grapes for international markets and designing his own grape labels. 

With an extensive background in the production and marketing of a variety of fruits, Mr. Gardella’s specialty was grapes. He was a visionary in the production of new varieties of grapes, always with an emphasis on variety, product quality and sustainability. Mr. Gardella loved grapes in all forms, from sharing good wines to jarring raisins for family and friends.

Mr. Gardella was born in Boston on March 24, 1953, to Elena (Shinn) and Joseph Warren Gardella, MD, formerly of Weston, MA. Mr. Gardella was raised in Weston and attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and Oberlin College. He was an accomplished drummer in his youth and at Oberlin.

Mr. Gardella had an unrelenting passion for sailing and the ocean. He spent much of his youth navigating the East Coast waters from Cape Cod to Maine. More recently, he enjoyed sailing his Hinckley Sou’wester yacht in the waters of Southern California, making weekend jaunts to the Channel Islands. He was an avid New England sports fan and was an All-Midwest lacrosse player and talented soccer goalie. Mr. Gardella had a late in life desire for acting and starred in a Bandera Brothers short film, Overkill, in which he played a lead role as a bartender.
 
Mr. Gardella had an unwavering love for his family and friends and was always there to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He will be remembered for his larger-than-life personality, his blue eyes and infectious smile, and most of all his kind and loving heart. 

Preceded in death by his parents, Mr. Gardella is survived by his daughter, Katerina Danielle, the love of his life, and is also survived by his siblings, David Gardella of Novato, CA, Joanne Gardiner (husband Ian) of Gloucester, MA, Jonathan Gardella (life partner Ester) of the Netherlands, and Amelie Johnson (husband Tom) of Dover, MA. Two nieces, Abby Silk (husband Marc) of Medfield, MA, and Olivia Johnson of Dover, MA. Three Nephews, Ian Gardiner, Jr. (wife Mandy) of Concord, MA, Gus Johnson of South Boston, and Joseph Gardella of the Netherlands. He also leaves behind three great-nieces and two great-nephews.

A memorial service will take place on Friday, Oct. 22 at 2 pm at the First Parish Church, 349 Boston Post Road, Weston, MA 02493. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to “The Elena and Joseph Gardella Memorial Fund 021527” at Massachusetts General Hospital, supporting the Winickoff Scholars Program for primary care physicians. Gifts can be made online at giving.massgeneral.org or by check payable to “Mass General Hospital” and mailed to MGH Development Office, C/O Patrick Rooney/Gardella Family,125 Nashua Street, Boston, MA 02114.

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