Fruit growers’ advocate dies suddenly

Past-president of the B.C. Fruit Growers' Association Joe Sardinha, 52, died Saturday of a massive heart attack.
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Summerland orchardist and past president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association Joe Sardinha, 52, has died of a massive heart attack.

It happened Saturday night.

“Everyone is shocked. We’re all shocked,” current Fruit Growers’ Association president Jeet Dukia says. “It’s very sad. It’s a big loss to the industry. He was respected.”

Dukia, a Vernon orchardist, says members of the executive saw Sardinha just this week doing some summer pruning in his apple orchard and he seemed healthy.

Sardinha was the president of the Fruit Growers’ Association for 6 years from 2005 to 2011.

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick posted the news of Sardinha’s death on his Facebook page.

“Very sad to hear Joe has passed away at only 52 years of age,” Letnick says. “He was a strong advocate for fruit growers in British Columbia.”

Letnick says Sardinha was articulate and knew how to communicate the priorities of fruit growers to government.

Details about a memorial service haven't been released yet.

To contact the reporter for this story, email or call 250-491-0331.

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