Obituary: Herb Sodel

December 18, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

Herbert “Herb” Allan Sodel, 83, entrepreneur and charismatic character, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 9, following a prolonged illness. 
Mr. Sodel was a longtime resident of Boca Grande and Johns Creek, Georgia.
Born in Meriden, Connecticut, on Feb. 24, 1937, to Milton and Shirley Sodel, he moved to Georgia after high school and received a BS degree in business from the University of Georgia in 1960.
After college, he worked for his then father-in-law’s business – L. F. Shattuck Co. – selling packaging machinery. In 1968, he, along with his father-in-law and brother-in-law, created Handee-Pak, a portion control packaging business specializing in condiments in Doraville, Georgia. It became quite successful and eventually was sold to McCormick and Company, spice manufacturers, in 1979.
After the sale of their company, Mr. Sodel began spending more time in Boca Grande, Florida, where he could indulge his love of golf and fishing from his boat, the Gringo. However, he still maintained a business – Modern Warehousing Company – in Norcross, Georgia, and later started another portion control business, Spectrapak, which manufactured a popular “popsicle” product and operated out of California. He sold that company in 1987.
In 1994, he married Nancy Raffa and together they launched Boca Grande Foods in Duluth, Georgia. Over the 15 years they had the company, it became the largest independently owned portion condiment business in the United States. In 2008, they sold Boca Grande Foods to Hormel Foods.
Now, finally retired with so much to look forward to, he was, sadly, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 12 years ago. He fought bravely, maintaining his quick wit and the uncanny sense of humor that made him a memorable, one-of-a-kind husband and friend.
While Mr. Sodel was a hard worker, he also enjoyed an active social life, happy people and his Crown Royal! He was proud to be a founding member of the Atlanta Country Club, as well as a member of the Gasparilla Inn and Club, Coral Creek Club, Canyon Crest Country Club in California and Highlands Country Club in North Carolina.
He was a spontaneous friend, always ready to drop whatever he was doing to enjoy spending time with others. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of his wife’s passion for breeding world-class Doberman Pinchers. During his long illness, he had three Dobermans that were trained as service dogs, with one staying by his side at all times.
Survivors besides his widow, Nancy, include his children from his marriage to the late Jody Sodel: daughters, Stacy Womack (Dr. Shay Sr.) and Lesley Miles (Todd) and sons, Stephen (Kelly) and Bryan (Rhonda). Also surviving are his stepchildren, Janet Wilson (Brian) and Vincent Raffa (Emily) and grandchildren, Shay Jr., Dory, Gracie, Shad, Morgan, Tyler, Macy, Ava, Adrian, Joey and Georgie.
Services and a celebration of life will be private.