Basil Mills, the founder of Mills Distributing, died Jan. 14, 2022, at the age of 91. Mills was the Chairman of the Western Growers Board of Directors in 1997; in 2002, he received WG’s most prestigious award, the Award of Honor.
Mills Distributing was one of the Salinas Valley’s leading vegetable grower-shippers for decades; Mills started the company when he was 28 years old. Starting out as a one-man cauliflower brokerage, the company eventually expanded to ship 10 million cartons of more than 20 commodities annually.
Besides serving on the WG Board, Mills also was a member of the board of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and an active supporter of the United Way of Monterey County, where according to The Produce News, he donated more than $1 million. Mills’ roots in his community were deep; during his Award of Honor presentation, he received a special video tribute from friend and fellow Monterey County resident Clint Eastwood.
Mills is pre-deceased by his wife, Evangeline C. Parker, and survived by his brother Roger Mills; his sister Melissa Bird; his children David, James, Susan and Katherine; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to The Food Bank for Monterey County, 353 W Rossi St, Salinas, CA, 93907, or the donor's favorite charity.
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