With a trial set to start in six weeks, why did the fates deny him his moment on the stand? It is the unspoken question everyone who knew him asks themselves, as word has filtered out that Jim Nolan has passed away.
We don’t know every detail yet, and we couldn’t bear to ask his loving wife Theresa to speak, not when the love of her life, her partner and husband has just been taken from her.
He died of a heart attack Sunday night. Which just makes his friends ask what breaks a man’s heart?
Jim spent a lifetime working with Ocean Spray and built a righteous reputation.
Grant Hunt put it this way:
Jim Nolan was iconic to the fresh cranberry industry. Throughout all of the travails of some challenging seasons, Jim always was a tower of integrity and honor. He worked tirelessly on behalf of Ocean Spray’s growers. Our industry will sorely miss Jim.
Bruce Paschal explained it like this:
He was pure. In an industry where purity is not to be assumed. He was pure. A man of principle and integrity.
We’ve written extensively about the dispute and lawsuit between Jim and Theresa Nolan, their company, the Nolan Network, and Ocean Spray.
Lawsuits are always about many things but, at base, this one was about Jim Nolan wanting to be honest and up front with all his customers.
JIM NOLAN & HIS CAT BO
We used a photo, taken by Bill Martin of PRODUCE BUSINESS during happier days back in 1999. Since the split with Ocean Spray, things weren’t as happy. It wasn’t only money… so many of his “friends” were involved with Ocean Spray, and when the dispute broke out, they felt they couldn’t be seen as “siding” with Jim.
The whole episode is horribly sad.
He wanted to have his day in court. To have a chance to testify, tell his side of the story, and we hoped the court would publicly confirm the righteousness of his conduct and his life.
We suppose the lawsuit will go on. Theresa will battle for truth and her husband’s honor. But now Jim will never get his moment on the stand.
Nobody knows why someone dies, but everyone who cared for Jim sensed that something about the whole situation sucked the life out of him. He just wasn’t meant for the kind of battle that was required.
He was, as Bruce said, pure.
When we get more information we will pass it on. In the meantime we extend our deepest condolences to Theresa.