Jan Fleming, 1967

“Jan Fleming Remembered as Industry Pioneer, Mentor” by Lora Abcarian | May 02, 2013           

The fresh produce industry is mourning the loss of Jan Fleming, chief executive officer of Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. in Chicago, who died May 1 at the age of 67. She is remembered by Director of Finance Lisa (SCHNEIDER) Strube ’87 as a woman with a pioneering spirit who mentored generations to come.

Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. was founded in 1913 by Ms. Fleming's grandfather, Fred Strube. Her father, Robert Strube Sr., took over the reins of the company in the 1930s. Ms. Fleming was the third generation of the closeknit family to continue in a leadership position.

"She was a very close, personal friend. Jan had a heart of gold," Ms. Strube told The Produce News. "She touched people in a very special way. She led the way for women in this industry. But it was her heart that was so special."

Ms. Fleming attended Luther College and graduated in the late 1960s. She taught for a brief period of time, but realized that involvement with the family business was her true calling, according to Ms. Strube. Growth of the company's fruit division was one of many successes that marked her career.

A visitation was on Sunday, May 5 at the North Shore Methodist Church in Glencoe, Ill. A memorial service was held at the church Monday, May 6.

Those wishing to honor the memory of Ms. Fleming are encouraged to make a contribution to the Jan and Tim Fleming Scholarship for Women Minorities in Business, care of Luther College Development Office, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101; or the Jan Fleming Memorial at North Shore United Methodist Church, 213 Hazel, Glencoe, IL 60022.

Jan (STRUBE) Fleming ‘67, age 67 of Northbrook, Ill. Wife of Tim Fleming, Sr. ‘67; mother of Tim FLEMING, Jr. ‘90 (Lisa (Ronning) FLEMING ‘90) and Chris Fleming (Kristin (Eickelberg) Fleming ‘90); grandmother of Stuart, Brianna, Sydney and Jacob; daughter of Helen and the late Bob Strube, Sr.; sister of Bob Strube, Jr. ’64 (Sue). Forty-year career in the Wholesale Produce Business in Chicago as part of the family business Strube Celery and Vegetable Company. Honored Produce Women of the Year, Produce Person of the Year, and Distinguished Service Award Luther College Decorah, Iowa.  

At Luther College Jan and Tim also served as members of Presidentsrad, were Life Members of President’s Council and were the Host Family for Lutherlag.