Carlos Arturo Fuente Sr., the patriarch and head of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia, the largest family-owned cigar company in the world, passed away on August 5. He was 81 years old.
Fuente Sr. was raised in the tobacco business, and by the age of 11 he was hand-rolling 50 cigars each day after school to fill orders for his father Arturo’s fledgling Fuente brand in West Tampa, Fla. In 1958, he bought the company from his father for one dollar. Over the years, after having overcome obstacles that included third-world social upheavals and factory fires, and with the help of his son Carlos Fuente Jr. and his daughter Cynthia Fuente-Suarez, he built it into one of the Dominican Republic’s most coveted brands. Today, it produces more than 30 million hand-rolled cigars each year in its Santiago factories.
In addition to his business acumen and honesty, Fuente Sr. was revered for his skills as both a cigar maker and a tobacco blender. We can’t imagine a more appropriate tribute to him than to smoke one of these cigars.