March 3, 2022

Western Growers Mourns the Passing of Former Board Chairman and Award of Honor Recipient Basil Mills

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.