Nov 19, 2018
Leo Rolandelli, Mexico asparagus industry developer, dies

Leo Rolandelli of Orinda, California, credited with developing Mexico’s asparagus industry, thus helping create year-round supply for U.S. consumers, died Oct. 31. He was 77.

Leo Rolandelli

Mr. Rolandelli was born and raised in Oakland, California, and attended Saint Mary’s High School in Berkeley, and Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. In 1963 he went to work for Jacobs, Malcom and Burtt in the San Francisco Produce Market selling a full line of produce with a specialty in asparagus. He quicklybecame president of JMB and eventually became owner. After working 50 years he sold the San Francisco Produce Market warehouse and moved to San Ramon where he kept his asparagus brokerage business, never fully retiring.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Patricia Ann Rolandelli, son Craig Rolandelli, daughters Cheri Rolandelli and Crista Groves, daughter-in-law Karen Rolandelli, and son-in-law Glenn Groves. He was a devoted grandfather to six cherished and caring grandchildren: Stephen, Sean, Ethan, Michael, David and Christopher. He is also survived by his sister Dianna Gai, brother-in-law John Gai, his niece, nephews, cousins and relatives. Leo was preceded in death by his parents Mario and Anna Rolandelli.

Mr. Rolandelli was president of the San Francisco Produce Market Association and helped negotiate health and welfare benefits for Teamster Local 856 workers. He was a leading force in creating what has become known as The Market Food Recovery Program in partnership with the San Francisco Food Bank.

Mr. Rolandelli loved coaching his children’s sports teams when they were younger. He had many wonderful longtime friends with whom he played bridge, tennis, golf, hunted and fished. Leo and Pat especially enjoyed playing bridge and traveling together. His greatest love was traveling with his family on many of these trips. He loved fishing, hunting and golfing with the grandchildren as well as cheering them on in gymnastics, hockey, soccer, Boy Scouts, and all their many activities. For many years, Leo played the sax and clarinet in a band called the “Gondoliers”. He was an avid Raiders, Warriors and A’s fan.

A memorial Mass will be said at 10:30a.m., on Friday, Nov. 30, at Santa Maria Catholic Church, 40 Santa Maria Way, Orinda, Califonria. There will be a celebration of life at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant in Walnut Creek immediately following the ceremony. Leo will be interred at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette in a private burial. In lieu of flowers, donations in Leo’s name can be made to the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research.

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