(March 2) George Schoeffel, a founding partner in grower-shipper Henry Avocado Corp., Escondido, Calif., has died at the age of 86.

Schoeffel started the avocado company with his cousins Gil Henry and Warren Henry in 1954. He handled national sales from the company’s Los Angeles office and built demand for the company’s avocados.

“He created markets where none existed,” said son Scott Schoeffel.

In 1963, he was among the first to use cross-promotions, said the younger Schoeffel.

“He was the guy who — long before anybody did it — came up with the cross-marketing idea for avocados and salad dressing,” Scott Schoeffel said. “He cold-called the Kraft company and said if you’ll put ‘try me with avocados’ stickers on your product, we’ll promote your salad dressing with ours.”

Schoeffel retired from Henry Avocado in 1984, but still owned several avocado groves.

Phil Henry, president of Henry Avocado, worked with Schoeffel many times over the years.

“He was a great friend,” Henry said. “He was always encouraging younger people to succeed in the business and was willing to pass on his knowledge in the industry.”

After retirement, Schoeffel moved to a home on a golf course in Escondido. He enjoyed playing golf, tennis and bridge right up until the last few weeks of his life, Henry said.

Schoeffel’s first wife, Pat Voltz, died in 1981. He married Margaret Quirke in 1982. She died in 2000.

He is survived by a sister, Mary Munro; children, John Schoeffel, Scott Schoeffel, Susie Donnelly and Sarah Shedd; stepsons, Tom Quirke, Brian Quirke, Bill Quirke and Terry Quirke; 14 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.