John Tsukasa Tanimura, 88, a founding member of the farming partnership Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods Inc., died April 27 at his home in Salinas, his family announced.
The cause of death was not released.
Tanimura and four of his brothers joined with members of the Antle family of produce distributors in 1982 to form Tanimura & Antle, which farms more than 40,000 acres in North America, Europe and Asia.
The partnership was the culmination of decades of cooperation between the two clans that began after Tanimura and other members of his family were released from a World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans in Poston, Ariz.
Tanimura was born Nov. 21, 1920, in San Juan Bautista, Calif., and spent his boyhood farming with his family.
After the war, Tanimura and his family bought a 20-acre plot in the Salinas Valley, where they grew lettuce and onions. The family soon began growing lettuce exclusively for Bud Antle, who had established a produce distribution business.
In 1982, the Tanimuras formed their partnership with Bud's son Bob and other Antle family members.