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Dolores Bellusci, New Jersey produce veteran, was 80

by | June 06, 2010
Dolores Elaine Bellusci, a member of the produce industry for more than 45 years, died May 27 at her home in Vineland, NJ, surrounded by her family. Ms. Bellusci had suffered from lung cancer for two years, according to her daughter, Debbie Lazareff.

Ms. Bellusci was born Dec. 27, 1929, in Vineland -- the heart of the state's produce area. She graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Vineland in 1946, and then attended Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.

She began her long produce career in the late 1960s at R&B Produce in Vineland. She also worked at Formisano Produce in Vineland, John B. Ordille in Hammonton, NJ, and Procacci Bros. Sales Corp. in Philadelphia. For the last 15 years, she was a watermelon broker with John Lapide at a Vineland-based company known as Watermelon 1.

Ms. Bellusci was also very active for many years with the New Jersey and Philadelphia chapters of what was then called the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, and is remembered by many for her tireless work at organizing those chapters' annual dinner-dances -- which she enjoyed as much as anyone, her daughter shared, adding, "She was quite an amazing person."

Among Ms. Bellusci's survivors are her husband of 57 years, Eugene; her son, John; and her daughter, Debbie Lazareff, who told The Produce News that she hoped to take over her mother's role as a watermelon broker at Watermelon 1. Ms. Bellusci is also survived by five grandchildren and by many nieces and nephews. Her sister, Rosemarie Stephen, died in 1971.

The family suggests that donations in Ms. Bellusci's memory be made to St. Isidore's Church or to St. Augustine Preparatory School.