Natural Products Expo East ended on a very sad note when industry lost a good friend and colleague. Peter Eric Baskauskas died of sudden cardiac arrest on September 22 at the age of 56.

Baskauskas most recently served as sales manager with UAS Labs, and previously spent over a decade working in sales for Quality of Life Labs (QOL). Before that, he worked for Lane Labs.

He had many friends in the natural products industry, due to his warm nature and sense of humor.  "I was very sad to hear about Peter. He was a very sweet man; always happy and ready to greet you with a hug," said Heather Wainer, publisher of WholeFoods Magazine.

Peter will be remembered for his optimistic attitude, too, said Maccy Franzé, director of operations at QOL. She stated, "There are no words to express the sadness of losing a great friend and wonderful colleague. Peter had such a positive outlook on life and always made sure that everyone around him was happy and smiling; he would do whatever was needed to get the job done.  Our industry has suffered a tremendous loss and I am sure that everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him will miss him terribly, I know I will."

Steve Katz, also of QOL, speaks of him as a happy-go-lucky friend. "He was a giving man, always thinking about everyone else first. He had a heart of gold and kindness. I truly have lost more then a friend. He surely has made a mark in many peoples lives. He truly will be remembered and missed."

Baskauskas was orginially from Huntington Station, NY, but grew up in Brockton, MA.  He was a varsity athlete in high school and went on to play college football at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, even serving as the team's tri-captain as a senior. His friends knew him as a devout fan of the Red Sox, the Patriots and the Celtics.

He was a loving father of three children. Katz adds, " He was a great father. He spent all his spare time with them, giving them guidance and direction. He was not only a father to them, but also a friend to them. He truly was a family person." Those wishing to do so may send donations to the Peter Baskauskas 2012 Children’s Trust at Bank of America, 2600 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306, account #3250-0791-3338.

A funeral service will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 1, at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 526 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, Florida. 

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2012 (online 9/27/12)