Citrus Salesperson Kay Hiatt Remembered

Ernie NeffCitrus, sales

Kay Hiatt

Kiyo Ueda Hiatt, 94, died July 11 at Treasure Coast Hospice – Harper House in Stuart, Florida. She began working more than 50 years ago at Deerfield Groves in Florida. Hiatt worked in sales in the citrus industry and served on several Florida Department of Citrus subcommittees.

She was a pioneer for women in the Florida citrus industry. Kay, as she was known in the trade, also helped expand sales into Japanese markets. She was well respected by her nationwide customer base. An industry peer said, “Kay was not just a pioneer in our industry, she was a legend.”

She helped expand citrus sales into Japanese markets. Japan remains a key market for fresh Florida grapefruit. Learn more about international markets for fresh Florida citrus here.

Hiatt was a first-generation Japanese American citizen born in Fife, Washington. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor during World War II, she and her family were forced to endure three years at Minidoka Internment Camp in Idaho. Against great odds, she was accepted to Bucknell University soon after being released from the internment camp.

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Hiatt was known for her keen intellect and love of language. She was a voracious reader and wordsmith, which made her a fierce Scrabble competitor.

Learn more about Hiatt’s life here.

Source: Treasure Coast Seawinds Funeral Home & Crematory

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