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Former Russ Davis Wholesale president dies at 81

Gary Davis, former president and owner of Russ Davis Wholesale in Wadena, MN, died Jan. 3 at his home after a long battle with cancer.Gary Davis RDW

Mr. Davis and his father, Russ, started selling fresh produce in 1957. Over the course of 50 years he leveraged a tremendous work ethic, significant smarts, a competitive nature, and plenty of attitude to build a business that became an industry leader in the upper Midwest.

As a veteran of the industry, Mr. Davis was a respected expert on product, operations, sales, procurement and executive leadership. His passion for the business and life in general was inspiring. People who knew him will recall his spirit displayed in a short temper, but an even quicker smile. He was a generous leader and made his employees owners of the company when he was ready to retire.

"His passing last week was a sad day for many of the RDW family who were fortunate to have worked with Gary or known him as one of the company’s founders," the company said in a statement. "He will be remembered fondly and thought of often."