Rest in Peace Tom Stratton (retired): Facebook Post shared Gary Kipnis

Industry News , Member News ,

Sad day. Lost a long-time dear friend today, Tom Stratton (retired), who passed away in Jackson MS.

Tom in the 1980s was the Executive Director of NIPFDA (National Independent Poultry & Food Distributors Association) at the time located in Nashville TN. When I was on the Board of Directors and Vice-President of  NIPFDA (President-elect), I worked closely with Tom, and we travelled frequently together with our wives to scout sites for our annual convention (held in places like San Antonio TX, Phoenix AZ, Asheville NC, Orlando FL, Savanah GA, Nassau Bahamas, Acapulco Mexico, etc.) and for the world's largest National Poultry  Association Convention & Show every year in Atlanta GA where we organized and held a giant industry welcoming cocktail party, and our annual Poultry Industry Person of the Year Breakfast & Scholarship Awards with over 600 people (industry leaders and entrepreneurs/company owners) in attendance.   I spoke with Tom recently and have been in communication with his wife Marsha regularly (she is the daughter of NIPFDA's first Executive Director, the late Charlie Carpenter).

NIPFDA was formed as a lobbying group in the late 60s in response President Nixon's price freeze that prevented wholesale distributors from adjusting prices in relation to the market, which was devastating to the industry, and to promote the poultry business (chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other food products). Some of the various well known industry pioneers I/we knew personally who supported our association and attended our functions included Frank Perdue - Perdue Farms (chicken & turkey producer), Don Tyson - Tyson Foods (chicken, pork, beef producers), Bo Pilgrim - Pilgrim Foods (chicken producer), Joe & Murray Katz - Empire Kosher (largest Kosher poultry producers), Terry & Scott Tucker - Maple Leaf Farms (largest duckling producers in the world), Irv & Jerry Rosen - Regal Foods (gourmet poultry product producers, later bought out by Heublein liquor company, then Swift), Colonel Sanders - KFC (founder Kentucky Fried Chicken), etc.    

Tom continued to work for a manufacturing company in quality control well into his 80s... retirement just wasn't for him. Tom had a great sense of humor, a hearty recognizable laugh, a booming voice, and for a BIG man, with a very kind heart.  Tom's heart just gave out. It’s not easy to say goodbye to a friend of 41 years.

Rest in Peace, Tom.