Milestones: Gerard Dowd, 1952-2012

Gerard “Gerry” Dowd, a long-time executive in the food and foodservice industries, passed away suddenly on August 6

Gerard “Gerry” Dowd, a long-time executive in the food and foodservice industries, passed away suddenly on August 6 during a fly-fishing trip to Alaska. He was 60.

Born in Philadelphia, Dowd graduated Villanova University in 1973 with a B.S. in Business Administration and soon began his career with Swift & Co. For the next  40 years he proved a highly formidable force in the protein category, rising through the ranks first with Swift, then with Tyson Foods, Con Agra Poultry Co. and, beginning in 2004, with Trident Seafood. For the last six years before his death he served as President of Trident’s Domestic Operations.

Dowd was known a hard-driving businessman whose high personal expectations and extensive industry relationships helped drive business across the sector. During his time as Senior Vice President and GM of Tyson’s Food Service division between 1979-1999, especially, he was a constant presence on the foodservice circuit, actively participating in countless distributor, broker and manufacturer events. (Photo shows Dowd in one of his many speaking engagements at an IFMA event in the mid-1990s). He was instrumental during that time in helping grow Tyson's Food Service division from a modest $100 million to over $2.5 billion in sales.

Fly fishing was a life-long passion and his long time friends can remember his occasional forays up mountain streams during R&R periods at events like the ComSource Executive Conference.

At the annual National Restaurant Show, he often could be seen mingling casually with top executives from companies ranging from Sysco to ConAgra Foods. At the same time, he demonstrated a strong “street sense” that served him well in helping to build programs that were mutually rewarding to his companies and to the distributor and broker communities with whom he worked.

Dowd was survived by his wife of 38 years,  Patricia; his son Sean; his daughter Meghan Shubert (Roger); and two granddaughters, Mary Anne and Patricia Mae Schubert; as well as two sisters, a brother, and numerous nieces and nephews. Online condolences may be expressed at www.wagesandsons.com [2].

                                                                                                —John Lawn