President of Monson Fruit Company Michael K. Monson died in a helicopter accident while on a fishing trip in British Columbia, Canada, on April 13, 2013. He was 48 years old.
Monson, the second oldest of six children, was born on December 30, 1964, in Provo, Utah.
Monson Fruit Company was established in 1987 in Selah, Washington. The company first packed apples at its new packing facility, adding cherries in 1989. Controlled atmosphere rooms were added in the mid-1990s.
Monson, called a visionary within the company, saw a bright future for cherries. In 1998, Monson Fruit was the first to pack Montana cherries in Washington, and the company also began packing cherries from The Dalles, Oregon, in the early 2000s.
During the same time frame, Monson Fruit partnered with Domex Superfresh Marketing and established Washington Agri-Management to fill the need of property management and special project work for Monson Fruit’s clientele involved in business relationships. Additional controlled-atmosphere (CA) storage rooms were added from 2002 to 2004, along with additional acreage.
Monson grew the company to more than 500 acres of apples. It has two cherry packing facilities (one in Selah and one in Wenatchee) that pack fruit from more than 3,000 acres of cherries, and annual pear production of about 5,000 bins, according to the Monson Fruit’s Web site.
Monson’s family wrote that Mike was a self-studied historian who enjoyed learning about culture and history of foreign countries, and was an avid outdoorsman and fisherman.
He is survived by his wife, Julie, and their son Jack and daughter Katelyn, a son Marcus from a previous marriage, his mother Charlotte Barmore, three brothers, two sisters, two stepbrothers, and a stepsister. He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Monson of Selah.