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Lt. Col. Jesse Raybourn (USA, Ret.), former VP of Information Services for the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) died July 21at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del. He was 86 years old. Raybourn began his career with PMA, then known as the Produce Packaging and Marketing Association, in 1967 and was responsible for the dissemination of packaging and marketing information and the production of all association publications.
While with PMA, he produced a 16-millimeter film, “Careers in Produce,” with the aim of attracting young talent into the industry. He retired from the association in 1984.
Before joining PMA, Raybourn served 26 years in the U.S. Army Air Corps, including active duty in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. During his time in the service, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, the Air Medal with four clusters, and the State of Delaware’s Distinguished Service Cross.
“I owe Jesse a great debt: He was the one who hired me in 1983, putting a lot of faith in a youngster who knew little about associations or the produce industry,” said Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of Newark-based PMA. “Jesse made a significant impact at PMA, collecting vital information for members in an era before the Internet made information so readily accessible. His service to PMA and his country is a testament to his commitment always to do the right thing and to take pride in his work on behalf of others.”
Survivors include his wife, Nita Mae; one son; and two daughters.