Goya Foods, America’s largest Hispanic-owned food company, remembers Joseph A. Unanue, former President of Goya Foods, Inc. who passed away on Wednesday evening, June 12, 2013, at his home in Alpine, New Jersey, at the age of 88, surrounded by his loving wife Carmen Ana and his immediate family.
“We lost a great man and a dear member of our family, who will be missed greatly,” says Bob Unanue, President of Goya Foods. “Uncle Joe always believed in the importance of family, which helped us to lay down the foundation of what Goya stands for. He was an iconic businessman not only within the food industry, but, among the Hispanic community and most of all to La Gran Familia Goya.”
Joe was a brilliant leader and administrator; loved and respected by all for his ambition, tenacity and dedication to not only his vision of expanding Goya but to keeping within the traditions of his family and culture. Joe began working at Goya in 1952 and served as President of Goya Foods, Inc. from 1976 to 2004. Under his and his brother Frank’s leadership, the company grew from a regional food company to a global brand with 15 manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide.
Along with his wife Carmen Ana, Joe dedicated much of his life to philanthropic causes through the C&J Unanue Foundation including the founding of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute for Latin American Studies at Seton Hall University, El Museo del Barrio and the Archdiocese of Newark. In addition, he was presented the Key to the City of Boston, and in 1991 Hispanic Magazine honored Joe with the National Hispanic Achievement Award. In 1986, Joe and his brother Frank served as co- Grand Marshalls of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in celebration of Goya’s 50th anniversary. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America.
Joe, who was very proud of being in the U.S. military, served in the U.S. Army during WWII and received a Bronze Star for his heroic service and conduct during the Battle of the Bulge.
He is survived by his wife, Carmen Ana, three daughters, Mari, Maribel, and Mimi, and his son Andy, as well as 16 grandchildren and one great grandchild.