Generoso Eiroa, the older brother of Justo Eiroa, our latest member of the Cigar Journal Hall of Fame, has passed away on December 3rd, 2021.
Christian Eiroa sent a statement to Cigar Journal, stating: “Generoso was best known for being a gentleman and very kind, except for when his food was served cold. I hear those stories but all I remember is that he was very nice to me. My mother tells me the story of how he carried me to the hospital in his arms when I was three and had suffered third degree burns. She tells me how impacted he was, but he made sure I got there and helped keep my father calm as he rushed to come meet us from the farm. I spent months at his house in Tegucigalpa recovering and everyday he would come into my room and make me a paper airplane. I loved him very much and will miss him greatly, especially as an adult when I look back at the impact he had in our lives. He was also the one who took care of my sister and me when my father had his accident in 1977 allowing my mother the peace of mind to focus on taking care of my father.”
Tio Gene spent 70 years in the tobacco business, starting at the age of 16 back in 1951 after his father’s passing running the La Victoria del Corojo farm in Cuba. Being the eldest of the family, it was up to him to take care of the family. His life in tobacco took him from Cuba to Tampa in 1960 where he would sweep floors and do whatever was necessary to make ends meet. In 1962 while Julio Eiroa was still in Korea with the U.S. Army, Generoso went to Nicaragua where he was one of the first to start organizing tobacco farms after the U.S. Embargo on Cuba. In 1964 he moved to Jamastran, Honduras to join his brother Julio with his farm where they lived in a shack with three lightbulbs and a generator which would get shut down at 8pm every night so they could save every penny. Julio and Generoso would work together until the late 70s. Tio Gene was extremely organized and was known to keep a ledger in pencil even in his later years.
In 1980, Tio Gene moved to Santiago, Dominican Republic where we went to work with INETAB, a division of Universal leaf in charge of all the dark air cured tobacco grown in the DR. Tio Gene’s major impact on the industry, which is still in place today, was organizing the 6,000 independent Dominican growers in a way that growers would be issued a contract and through INETAB also have the opportunity to secure financing. This system allowed manufacturers to secure tobacco and reserve quantities while it also protected growers by securing a buyer and a price for their tobacco.
He retired from INETAB at 65 in 2000 after having secured the largest filler tobacco deal to date with General Cigar for 5 years at a price that is still the gold standard 25 years later. Christian Eiroa: “He never left the tobacco business and even as I visited him in the hospital he was coordinating the last containers of filler I had purchased from him. To me, he was just my uncle, my father’s older brother. He passed peacefully late Friday night surrounded by his close family at his bedside. He is survived by his wife, Tia Bertica, by his children, his two younger brothers Julio (my father) and Francisco, his eight grandchildren and one great grandchild.”