martyharris
Marty was born on March 30, 1946 in Winnipeg, Canada and died at his home in Lomita, CA on Sept. 18, 2013. His family came to Los Angeles when he was a young child and eventually moved to Gardena where he went through school graduating from Gardena High in 1963. He then went to El Camino JC, UCLA, and the University of the Americas in Mexico City studying political science and US and Latin American history. While at UCLA he became involved in the anti-draft movement as a protest to the Vietnam War. He refused induction into the Army for which he spent 19 months in federal prison. Marty was a budding businessman at 9 years old when he delivered newspapers and as a teenager when he helped his dad in his egg delivery business. Later he had his own door to door routes delivering eggs and produce. He owned Marty's Produce in Gardena for 15 years which he built into a busy retail and wholesale operation. In 1990 he went on to Heritage Produce where he specialized in export sales mainly into Asia with much success. He seemed to have a natural ability for sales—loved the give and take of the deal, talking to all types of people, and using his incredible memory to keep all the details straight. He pursued business, as he did everything in life, with his signature energy, determination and hard work. He was especially proud to have given so many people jobs. He somehow managed to pursue profit and keep his liberal attitudes toward the working man at the same time. Marty was an avid baseball fan—loved to play as a kid, then was a Little League coach, and followed his favorite St. Louis Cardinals. He loved to talk about politics where his knowledge and great memory came in handy during "debates" with those who had opposing views. He is survived by his wife Kathie, son Jason Harris and his wife Susie of Arroyo Grande, daughter Amy Riviere and her husband Russell of San Marcos, and daughter Camille Lill and her husband Pete of San Diego, two grandchildren, Gabrielle and Ethan Riviere, sister Carole Garrett of Huntington Beach, and brother Brian Harris of La Mesa. We loved him and we'll miss him but we won't forget him—he was an amazing guy! Memorial service will be on Sept. 27, 2013 at 11 a.m. on the beach at Avenue I in Redondo Beach with a reception to follow at Rice Mortuary, Lighthouse Room. (Parking is metered, so please bring quarters, or Torrance Beach has a parking lot to the south which accepts credit cards) In lieu of flowers, please make donations to either Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN) or The Jackie Robinson Foundation.

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  1. A very wonderful tribute to a wonderful man who leaves a legacy of BRIGHT and LOVING children and grandchildren.

    Much love, hugs and warmth to the family,
    Vashia

  2. I have many great memories of Uncle Marty from our visits to California when I was a kid. I especially remember how hard he worked, getting up at a very early hour to get his produce stand running. One time, we all went out to a very noisy, very busy Fuddruckers for dinner – so busy we couldn’t all sit together. At one point I looked over and saw that he had dozed off, even amidst all of the noise and hubbub. Ever the dedicated worker, yet happy to go out when guests were in town!

    I’ve also always been so proud that he stood by his convictions during the Vietnam War. He set a fine example for all, and the world is a better place for his being here.

  3. Dear Katie, Thinking about you sending my love. The loss of a husband and father, is unmeasurable. It hardly seems possible that high school was were our lives crosses so many years ago, and then moved on into different directions. I still remember those times, as fun and ubeat, yet providing us with an awareness of the 60’s being a time of change for our country and ourselves. Hugs to you and your family.

  4. My deepest sympathy to you all. It was very nice to see Marty at our 50th Gardena High School Reunion in June…he looked so happy to be there, when we spoke. What a terrible loss for you all. He was a genuine down-to-earth man. A courageous person, who was not afraid to stand up for his beliefs. May God bless you all and shower you with peace as you struggle with this great loss. (Sandy Pevetoe Ragon, class of S’63)

  5. My sincerest condolences to you Kathie and your family.. I knew your husband back when he started Heritage and met him while I was at CFI. Up until last year we spoke about day 1. We chatted about politics, sports, family, and occasional shop talk. He was an incredible mentor to me and I cared for him very dearly. He was an incredible man that always gave you his ear and attention. I always will remember him as a gentle giant…The industry has lost a GIANT…And I (we) will all miss him very very much. May he now rest and watch his Cards hopefully bring home the trophy.. It was an honor to call him my friend.. Rest my friend… Until we meet again…

  6. Kathie,
    We are so very sorry to hear of your lose.
    Marty was a wonderful person (remembering him from the little league field) back when our girls played on teams together.Our boys have been good friends throughout the years and it was Jason who suggested I take you to the James Taylor Concert (when i asked if he knew who that was) as I had won free tickets to the show, Jason said MY mom would LOVE to go. and so we did, and had a great time.
    I remember you telling me how you and Marty would take trips and go Bird watching, I found it fascinating you both knew so much, on a subject I had never really thought about. Your stories were so enjoyable I found them to be quite captivating, imagining the serenity and beauty of the birds chirping and not knowing they were being observed as you shared those special moments with your Love.
    Seems we only meet up in the Market these days but please know you and your family has been in my Prayers these past few months and will remain there thru this difficult time.

    Kathie may the beautiful Memories you have acquired throughout the years and the love of your children and family bring you peace & healing comfort in the days to come.
    For: Jason & Susie
    Amy & family and Camille & family
    Our sincere Sympathy in the lose of your Father
    With deepest regards and Love to all
    Vicki and John Medina

    Harbor City Ca

  7. Dear Kathy and family,

    On behalf of my wife Irene and I, we would like to
    express our condolences for your loss.

    Marty and I have had a very long relationship of 58+
    years. I’d like to share some of those experiences and celebrate his life. Marty, like myself, are both former
    Canadians. I first met Marty when I was at Chapman elementary school in the fifth or sixth grade. There was an immediate kinship between us. We went bowling, played baseball and generally got into mischief as young kids. I remember very vividly us bowling on a Father and Son league, working on our paper routes and riding our bikes to Redondo beach. After high school I would see Marty occasionally at 10 year reunions but we’ve always remained good friends. Our careers and family life took different paths. I knew about Marty’s position on the war and, although we had different
    political views, I always respected Marty and admired him for his beliefs. It’s funny, though, that Marty and I never
    discussed politics during the entire time of our friendship.

    It was after the 45th high school reunion that Marty and I
    renewed our friendship again. I was retired at this time and Marty was very established in his business but was getting ready to enjoy more leisure time.We would have lunch sometimes with our good friend, Jim Kirk, who once lived across the street from Marty. One of the things I greatly admired about Marty was his convictions about life and his relationship with his family. Marty never let anyone down. I was greatly impressed by his positive outlook on life, no matter what the adversities . As a member of the Adventurer’s Club of Los Angeles, I invited Marty to the many programs and he came several times alone and also with his son-in-law Russell Riviere. Shortly after the 50th high school reunion I had a chance to see Marty and Kathy at their house in Lomita.
    What originally had been planned as an hour or so visit, turned into six hours of conversation with Marty recalling old memories that were amazing from our past. I’m so glad I had that opportunity to see Marty again and it really confirmed
    my admiration for him as a human being and a true friend all these years.

    Shane Berry

  8. Kathie and kids (adults),
    I am so sorry to hear about Marty! He was a wonderful guy and looks like he really prospered in the produce business after he left Gardena. The Tabor family has fond memories of you guys and miss you dearly! My mom and dad send their condolences and would like to send a card. I’ll definately see you at the services. Think about the good times and keep them close to your heart! Prayers go up for your family at this time.
    Channe!

  9. Kathie,
    I feel so fortunate to have met Marty, after so many years of hearing what a great guy he was. Just like I always heard, Marty had all the wonderful qualities that made him an exceptional person in every way…so good, so kind, such a true friend, loving dad, and dedicated husband. Everyone who has ever known him, can’t say enough about what a special human being he is.
    My very first time speaking with him, he told me how he’d met you, the love of his life;and how incredible your relationship was, to this day. He raved about how you had been with him and supported him, every step of the way. His excitement, love and devotion for you was so evident, and he spoke as if you two had just started going steady last week! I will remember, forever, the total joy with which he spoke of you, and how lucky he said he felt, to have you in his life.
    I know you and your family feel the same way about him. My thoughts are with you all. ~Judy Karsh

  10. Before starting my MBA program I spent 5 days shadowing Heritage with Uncle Marty. It was a grueling week. We were up at 4 am, spent several hours moving from one freezing produce case to another, and took long road trips to see the strawberries in the field. During that week he was tough on me, tougher on his employees, and downright impossible with some of his clients. BUT I could tell instantly that each and every one of them respected him and that his dedication to his business was unparalleled. He knew every employee’s name and their families, he treated the produce like it had feelings, and he always got the job done and he got it done right. I’ve been in business classes for over a year now and in each one I think “What would Uncle Marty do?”
    He was a brilliant businessman and a great uncle and he will be terribly missed.

  11. Working with Marty at Marty€™s Produce was a great experience.
    I had the opportunity to see a produce stand reconstructed into an upscale produce store while never closing a single day due to construction. Marty was a great boss and mentor. I was eighteen at the time and Marty made an indelible mark on my life that left me a better person. I regret not taking the time to look him up to let him know what an influential person he was in my life.

  12. Marty was a great guy. He was a mentor to me and I am sure to lot of other people in the produce business. He will be missed by all who knew him. I remember when I started working at Shapiro, he went out of his way to help Maury & I in the bag orange business. He was the first field buyer that Shapiro had to start the business. Our relationship continued over the last twenty four years. He was always a good friend and he will always be in my heart. My deepest condolences go to Marty’s family from Jose & Maria Menendez.

  13. Dear Kathy and family,
    I want to offer my deepest condolences. Marty, was always so very kind to me and my family. We are thinking of you during these difficult times. A great gentleman that will live on in our memories forever. ~Lou Pineda

  14. Dear Kathy and family, we offer our deepest condolences. Marty was our supplier for more than 20 years. He was our mentor, our friend, and it was always a pleasure hearing his voice, meeting him in LA or Singapore, and he’s a great, energetic, humorous guy. We will miss him and he will live on in our memories.

    – Joe Tan, Ban Choon (Singapore)

  15. I only met Marty once, when I interviewed him for my oral history project on war resisters, but I was impressed with both his wit and his wisdom. I don’t know whether he even read his interview in *Crossing the Line: Nonviolent Resisters Speak Out for Peace* but I hope his family has a copy as it was superb! He will be remembered, along with other deceased narrators, in my holiday letter to all contributors. Thank you, Marty, for a life well-lived!

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