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Colorado grower-shipper Ed Monson dies at 73

Longtime Colorado onion and carrot grower-shipper Joseph (Ed) Monson, 73, of Greeley died Sunday, March 11, at home surrounded by family. Life Celebration Services will be held 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, at St. Paul’s Congregational Church, 1525 43 Ave. in Greeley. Interment will be at Linn Grove Cemetery.Ed-and-Sharon-Monson-1998Colorado onion grower Ed Monson with his wife, Sharon, at a National Onion Association Annual Convention in 1998. Photo courtesy of the National Onion Association

Mr. Monson was born April 19, 1944, to Joe and Kathleen Monson and grew up in Henderson, CO, on Monson Bros.’ family farm with his two sisters, Joann and Marlene. He was preceded in death by his parents.

He married his high school sweetheart, Sharon Amato, and they raised their children — son Martin and daughter Aundrea — in the Colorado communities of Brighton, Galeton and Greeley. Martin and wife Amy blessed Mr. Monson and Sharon with two grandchildren, and Aundrea and husband Castulo Venegas blessed the couple with five grandchildren.

A graduate of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Mr. Monson’s love for botany initially manifested in a career in flower growing, first roses for Katayama Greenhouses and later for Amato Greenhouses in Brighton.

A tribute to Mr. Monson said, “However, his love for farming eventually led him back to the carrot and onion fields of northern and eastern Colorado, where he found his life’s work farming with his father and sister Marlene at Monson Bros. Company."

National Onion Association Executive Vice President Wayne Mininger said his longstanding friendship with Mr. Monson started in the early 1970s, when Mr. Monson worked with his own father and uncle growing onions and carrots first in Henderson, CO, and then in the farm’s new location in Greeley.

“They grew carrots and onions for many, many years, operating until the early 2000s,” Mininger said. “Monson Bros. was a very successful and innovative company and employed a sizeable number of people. This was in the days when transplant onions were done all by hand, and in addition to their own fields, Monson Bros. had six to 10 outside growers also growing onions for them. In fact my father and I grew onions for them at one point. They were a prominent operation both in Colorado and nationally.”

At the National Onion Association, which is headquartered in Greeley, Mr. Monson served on the board of trustees for many years, and Monson Bros. was a member company.

“Ed was very active on numerous committees,” Mininger said. “He was a strong supporter of the NOA’s promotional program and believed the domestic crop needed promoting to both home and foodservice markets.”

In addition to being an advocate for onion promos, Mr. Monson was also “the kind of fellow who was a leader,” Mininger said. “It was always a lively conversation when you talked to him. He had such passion and was never lukewarm about anything.”

After retiring from farming, Mr. Monson traveled across the nation, “scouting crops for the Michael Cutler Produce Company of Scranton, PA,” his tribute said.

It went on to say, “His family brought him great joy. He also found joy in golfing every day that the weather permitted, summer or winter.”

A man of deep faith, “Ed enjoyed studying the Bible and praised his Lord for each new day, constantly asking guidance not only for himself, but also for his entire family. Ed knew he had eternal life, and due to his illness, he was ready to step into phase two of his eternal life.”

Condolences to the family can be expressed at