It is with a profound sense of sadness that the news came that Jim Prevor, co-founder and editor in chief of Produce Business, joined his ancestors. He leaves a great legacy of service to his industry and to all of mankind.
My relationship with Jim began with his dad, Mike Prevor, of blessed memory. Mike was a great wholesale distributor in the Hunts Point market. That was back in 1979. I was a year out of college, and Mike Prevor was so interested in my family and in me, and although I was in the potato part of his business, he made me feel like strawberries, asparagus, cherries, all the rock stars of our industry. He gifted me the chance to send our potatoes to Gothenburg, Sweden. I share this because Mike and Roz, his wife, always made us feel special. Jim and his brother, Barry, took on that great character trait, and we relished every opportunity over the years to see each other, (always a hug,) to speak or to correspond.
Jim Prevor had three great gifts that he developed, mastered, and shared. Jim had empathy. One of life’s greatest skills is the ability to feel the pain and challenges that others face. Identifying with people’s pain, frustration and fears, and showing sincerity and an eagerness to help is so rare and so deeply appreciated that it makes quick and everlasting friendships. The second of Jim’s great gifts is his courage. We think of the John Wayne in our lives, those who have no fear — respect, but no fear. Jim jumped in to every issue with confidence and an ability to study, come to conclusions, and to make points, grant points, and come to consensus for positive action in every case. That is bravery, courage, and respect for opponents’ views.
His greatest of those three gifts was the ability to tell a story. We all love story-tellers and those who are engaging, interesting, factual, and lead us to a destination of progress.
Jim took all of us to higher ground on every issue, every time.
Now, in his passing, it is on us to take the steps, carefully and with great sensitivity, to help his family process this terrible tragedy and somehow channel it for the good. It begins with that hug that Jim gave to each of us. It continues with calm, patient and enduring love. If he could whisper to us now, here is what he would say:
“Family and friends, I am in a very special place with my parents, and so many of those who I missed and adored over the course of my life. They are taking great care of me and they are sharing with me the secrets of the universe. This is a place of great truth, great beauty, and great knowledge.
“There are so many subjects to study and there are so many great personalities that know so much more than I do on all subjects. I know I am going to be very busy here.
“Please don’t cry too hard for me, help each other get through this difficult time. I will help all of you in any way that I can and this being the Olam Habah, the next world, makes that super challenging, but I will figure it out and share what I can.
“Love each other, deeply, don’t turn away from a chance to do some good for someone, and most of all, please watch after my wife, and my children and my brother Barry.
“Ken, you know exactly what to do and how to do it better than if I was standing next to you. Grow the business, focus on the prize, and make this the best [year], ever.”
Harris Cutler is President and CEO of Race West, a produce wholesaler, in the United States.