Dale Bone, founder of Nashville, N.C.-based Nash Produce LLC, died Dec. 11. He was 69.

After receiving a degree in agronomy and agricultural economics from North Carolina State University in 1964, Bone began growing vegetables in North Carolina’s Nash County.

He founded Nash Produce, a sweet potato and cucumber specialist, in 1977. Bone sold the company and retired as its president in 2006. In 2005, Nash Produce was selected North Carolina Agribusiness of the Year.

Bone was an active industry leader, serving as president, vice president and treasurer of the National Council of Agricultural Employers.

He also had volunteer positions in the Produce Marketing Association, the United Fresh Produce Association, the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission and other organizations.

Christian Schlect, president of the Yakima, Wash.-based Northwest Horticultural Council, said Bone was notable for his service both to the produce industry and the community at large.

Bone provided university scholarships for students in the Wilson, N.C., area, contributed to educational endowments and helped create Wilson Youth United, which provides local youths with direction and guidance.

“Mr. Bone was an exceptional person, who gave much to the produce industry and his surrounding community,” Schlect said. “I shall miss him.”

Bone is survived by his wife, Genia Bone; mother, Lucille Bone; a son, Michael Bone; and two granddaughters.