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Idaho potato veteran John Stanger has died

by Rand Green | April 16, 2009
John Gary Stanger, a prominent Idaho potato shipper and marketer as well as a founding partner in Wada Farms Marketing Group in Idaho Falls, ID, died April 9 at his home in Idaho Falls from bone marrow cancer. He was 70.

Born March 3, 1939, in Idaho Falls, Mr. Stanger attended the University of Idaho and graduated from Brigham Young University in 1961 with a degree in business. After graduating, Mr. Stanger joined his father in the family potato business, Idaho Bonded Produce, which by the mid-1970s had become one of the larger potato-shipping warehouses in Idaho.

In 1989, Mr. Stanger sold Idaho Bonded to the J.R. Simplot Co. and stayed with Simplot as fresh marketing director until 1996, when he left the company to establish ProFresh LLC. Pro-Fresh had exclusive marketing rights for all potatoes and onions packed under the "Dole" label.

In 1998, Mr. Stanger and his son, Kevin, formed a partnership with Albert Wada, owner of Wada Farms in Pingree, ID, which is now known as Wada Farms Marketing Group. Mr. Stanger was vice president of marketing at Wada Farms Marketing at the time of his death.

Active in various industry organizations, Mr. Stanger served on the board of directors and as president of the Idaho Grower-Shippers Association and as a member of the Idaho Potato Commission. He was the 2005 recipient of the Idaho Potato Aristocrat Award presented by IGSA for his contributions to the Idaho potato industry.

Mr. Stanger was also actively involved in his church and community. For the past 14 years, one of his great passions was working with the Idaho Youth Ranch, where he served on the board of directors and was chairman for two years.

In addition to his son, Mr. Stanger is survived by his wife, Marsha, two daughters, a sister and nine grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Monday, April 13, at the Taylor Mountain Stake Center in Idaho Falls.