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Tom Lange Co. mourns past president and chairman Farrell Cole ‘Dutch’ Gay

Dutch Gay obit

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of our dear friends and founders, Farrell Cole “Dutch” Gay at the age of 89.

Before retiring in 1997, Dutch served as President and Chairman of the Tom Lange Family of Companies BB #:102175 and was instrumental in building the company into what it is today.

Dutch attended Coe College in 1951 on a scholarship gifted by a member of his church where he studied art. While in college, Farrell took a sales position in January of 1956 with Standard Fruit and Steamship Company, a major importer of bananas based in New Orleans.

Later in the year, he moved to St. Louis as acting sales manager for Standard Fruit and remained in that position before joining Brown and Loe in St. Louis. In 1960, three employees, Tom Lange (company manager), Farrell Gay, and Paul Beisser purchased the office from the retiring Brown and Loe owners and opened their first Tom Lange Company office.

Four years into the venture, Phil “Rock” Gumpert joined the team, making this a fierce trio in a growing business. Rock said “that as a newcomer to the sales side of the business, Dutch and I would talk numerous times every day as he was a mentor to me. Dutch was not only my boss, but we also became good friends. He was always a gentleman, a person full of kindness, compassion, and empathy for people but also one with strong business ethics and integrity. Dutch and I had a very special bond. We became more like brothers than just friends. Over the years, he became my best pal. Thanks to my pal, Dutch for all the great memories.”

In 1980, Dutch along with owners, Lange and Gumpert established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). It was structured into a trust to ensure that no employee would ever have to pay for a share of Tom Lange Company stock. In less than 7 years, the company employees were the sole owners of the Tom Lange Company and its subsidiaries.

Current Tom Lange President and CEO, Greg Reinauer, comments, “Dutch was a wonderful man and mentor, I could always count on him for the background on our business. It is important that our organization remembers and embraces the dedication and contributions of our founders.”

Dutch is survived by his two sons, four grandchildren, one sister, and three great-grandchildren.

About the Tom Lange Company
The Tom Lange Company is one of the longest-standing employee-owned companies in the produce industry. As one of the largest distributors of fresh produce, Tom Lange serves the retail, wholesale and foodservice trades through an expansive global network of growers, shippers and logistic partners.