Tobacco veteran Generoso Eiroa, 1935-2021

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Photo/CLE Cigar Co.

Three generations of Eiroas. From left to right: Generoso Eiroa, Julio Eiroa, Julio José Eiroa and Christian Eiroa.

Generoso Eiroa, who spent 70 years working in the tobacco trade in just about every major tobacco-producing country from Cuba to the Dominican Republic, died on Friday. He was 86 years old. He was the uncle of cigar maker Christian Eiroa and the brother of tobacco grower Julio Eiroa.

In a heartfelt note, Christian recalled how his uncle looked after him when he was just three years old, living in Honduras and badly burned. “My mother tells me how he carried me to the hospital in his arms,” ​​he wrote. “I spent months at his house in Tegucigalpa recovering and every day he would come to my room and make me a paper airplane.” Generoso continued to care for Christian and his family later, when Julio Eiroa, Generoso’s brother and Christian’s father, was partially paralyzed in a plane crash in 1977.

Generoso Eiroa started working with tobacco at the age of 16, running the La Victoria del Corojo tobacco farm in Cuba. “Being the eldest in the family, it was up to him to take care of my grandmother, Victoria and her two little brothers, Julio and Francisco,” said Christian Eiroa. Generoso would go to Tampa, Florida in 1960, then to Nicaragua in 1962, working on tobacco plantations. In 1964 he moved to Jamastran, Honduras, joining his younger brother, Julio, on a tobacco farm.

“They lived in a shack with three light bulbs and a generator that shut down at 8 p.m. every night so they could save every penny. My dad and uncle worked together until the late 70’s. Tio Gene was extremely organized and was known to keep a pencil log even in his later years.

In 1980, Generoso moved to Santiago, Dominican Republic, where we went to work with INETAB, a division of Universal Leaf, which handled the company’s air-cured dark tobacco. He retired from INETAB in 2000.

Cigar tobacco is strong in the Eiroa family. Julio and Christian made Camacho and other cigars together, and Christian now owns CLE Cigar Co., making cigar brands such as CLE Chele, Prieto, and 25th Anniversary, all of which contain Honduran Corojo seed tobacco. Julio and Christian still grow tobacco in the Jamastran Valley in Honduras.

“He never quit the tobacco business,” Christian said of his uncle. “Even when I visited him in the hospital, he was coordinating the last filling containers I had bought him.”

Generoso Eiroa is survived by his wife, Bertica; by his children Genito, Mary, Vicky and Jorge; his brothers Julio and Francisco; eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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