IDDBA President Christison Passes Away

Served as International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association leader for 31 years

Carol Christison International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA)

Carol Christison

MADISON, Wis. -- Carol L. Christison, longtime International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) president, died March 4, 2014.

Christison replaced retiring International Cheese & Deli Association executive director Willard T. Reese in Dec. 1982 at the Madison, Wis.-based organization and over the next 31 years built the association into the leading organization in the industry. It later became known as the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association.

"Back in the 80s, Carol Christison added a real spark to the association, including our annual business meetings in Door County where a mixture of business and fun was the order of the day," said a former board chairman.

Starting with only a part-time bookkeeper, the organization has grown to a staff of nearly 30 employees; from 100 corporate members to 1,500, and from fewer than 1,000 attendees to nearly 9,000 at the Annual Seminar & Expo.

Christison expanded and changed the organizational structure to meet new demands and opportunities and to be more self-sufficient. She was also well known for her creativity, her annual industry trends presentation and her abilities in creating a top-notch program for the annual seminar. She was also responsible for writing key promotional pieces and leading the annual research study.

Lucie Arendt, senior vice president and one of the first employees of the IDDBA said, "Carol has built an effective, committed team and our operations have grown and improved every year thanks to her inspiring, innovative leadership. We will miss Carol's professionalism, creative mind and friendship."

In her introduction at last year's annual meeting, Voni Woods, 2013 board chairman and senior director of deli at Giant Eagle Supermarkets, told Christison, "You are a leader and visionary and disciplined strategic thinker. You are amazingly perceptive about people and talent. You are a woman to reckon with in the industry of leaders and you do it with such grace and confidence."

Christison is survived by her daughter, Lucie (Norm) Arendt, and son David; eldest son Jim passed away in 2013. Visitation is set for March 12 with a Celebration of Life service on March 13. 

Carol and her family suggest, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology research fund which supports research in gynecologic cancers. Contributions to this fund significantly help advance cutting-edge research to find new ways to detect the cancer earlier, as well as improve the outcomes and quality of life for women and their families who face these cancers. 

IDDBA is a nonprofit membership organization serving the dairy, deli, bakery, cheese and supermarket foodservice industries.