Competidora, once popular in Cuba, hardly sells, but Nader said that Margarita Dosal maintained the brand for the sake of tradition.
Nader said the Dosal brands account for 1 percent of all cigarette sales in the United States, and according to The Wall Street Journal, aren’t far behind industry giants R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris in Florida.
While Dosal left Nader to run the operation, “all the major decisions, like equipment purchases, were brought to her for her approval,’’ said Nader.
Dosal left meticulous plans for the company’s future so it would stay in the family after her death, Nader said.
“It’s in a trust and professionally managed. She had the gumption to do what she had to do to protect the company and children....She had the sense of responsibility to protect this legacy.’’
She also took steps to protect her developmentally disabled son, Martin, who lived with her. He’ll live with a Dosal employee who became her mother’s personal secretary, and the woman’s husband, Dosal’s driver/valet.
During Margarita Dosal’s tenure as president, the company became entangled in the State of Florida’s mammoth, 1990s-era lawsuit against the tobacco companies. The state dropped Dosal from the suit before it settled in 1997 for some $300 annually, funds designed to reimburse state Medicaid programs that treat sick smokers.
Since then, Dosal has been battling annual attempts in the Legislature to impose a per-pack fee on its brands which, said Nader, Big Tobacco is pushing.
The company maintains a website called savedosal.com, which notes that 300 Florida families depend on Dosal for their livelihoods.
Dosal was long active in La Liga Contra El Cancer, said Lourdes Aguila-Meneses, board chairwoman, daughter and niece respectively of the group’s founder, the late Lourdes Aguila and her brother, Mario Palacio — whose wife, Carmen, was Margarita Dosal’s best friend and travelling companion.
They once took a luxury cruise together to the Galapagos Islands with a private butler.
“She was a beautiful beautiful lady inside and out,’’ said Aguila-Meneses. “Always impeccable, very giving throughout the community, and she was a shrewd businesswoman.’’
Dosal threw picnics and parties for her employees, Nader said, and would hand out bonuses herself.
A woman of deep faith, Dosal belonged to St. Rose of Lima Parish, but she wanted her memorial gathering to be festive.
So after an 11:30 a.m. Friday Mass at St. Rose of Lima Church, 415 NE 105th St., Miami Shores, loved ones and employees will gather at 1:30 p.m. for a champagne buffet at Miami Shores Country Club, 10000 Biscayne Blvd. — background music by Frank Sinatra and Chilean crooner Lucho Gatico.
Dosal’s ashes will be placed next to her husband’s body at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery in Doral.
In addition to daughters Beatriz and Miriam, and son Martin, Dosal is survived by daughter Margarita Owen of New Zealand, and son George of Fort Lauderdale.
The family suggests memorial donations to the Dosal Family Foundation, 4775 NW 132nd St., Miami, FL 33045.