Albert Frank Rica April 17, 1931 – December 15, 2015
Al lost his courageous battle with cancer and died peacefully surrounded by family and friends on 12/15/15. Al was born in Stockton to Frank and Bruna Rica. He served in the Air Force after graduating from Stockton High School. He later worked for Thermovac Inc, where he was active in the introduction and growth of 55 gal lined steel drums as sterile shipping containers for concentrated products for the Canning Industry.
In 1966 he and partner Lloyd Hay formed FranRica Inc, named in memory of Al’s late father. A key part of the new company’s early product line was a simplified aseptic Drum Filling system conceived by Al’s father. Valley Tomato Products in Stockton was the first of 14 tomato processing plants the company would have either a complete or a majorrole in designing. A full line of aseptic process and evaporation systems were developed and shipped around the world. Eventually the steel 55 gal drum gave way to less expensive and lower weight plastic containers. A patented improvement to the bag gave birth to the FranRica Bag Filler for 300 gal bag-in-box and 55 gal bag-in drum. Soon nearly all the tomato paste in California, and many spots around the world, was being packed in FranRica bag fillers, as dominating as the 55 gal steel Drum Filler before it.
In 1998 the California League of Food Processors presented their Distinguished Service Award to the FranRica founders. The name Al Rica was known everywhere in the world where tomatoes were processed.
Al is survived by wife of 52 years Jan, Brother Richard(Jean), daughters Debbie(Wayne), Poppy(Mario) and Cindy.Grand children Jessie, Dorie, Janice (Alex), Joseph (Maria) and Christopher. Great grand children Joshua and Olivia. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, son Michael and grandson Chris.
Special thanks for your help and support: Nick Rica, Debbie Pierce, Chris Rufer, Jerry Hougland, Rick Behlen, Lloyd and Charlene Hay and all the caring staff at Vienna Convalescent Hospital in Lodi.
A celebration of Al’s life will be held at 11am on Saturday, January 30th at the Waterloo Gun and Bocce Club. Located at 4343 North Ashley Lane, Stockton, California