( Photo courtesy Bard Valley Natural Delights; graphic by Amelia Freidline )

Steve Shadle, who instrumental in the formation of DatePac LLC, which consolidates and packs for the Bard Valley Date Growers Association members, has died.

Shadle, a respected philanthropist in Yuma, Ariz., died Aug. 11 after battling cancer. He was 84.

A lawyer, Shadle was active in agribusiness, becoming involved in lemon and medjool date growing in the late 1960s, according to his obituary. He combined his love of farming, practicing law and being involved in business, advising many business owners and helping form companies.

He represented citrus growers on Arizona’s Lemon Administrative Committee and Orange Administrative Committee and lobbied in Washington, D.C. He helped form the date growers association and in 2002 co-founded DatePac in Yuma, according to the obituary.

“Steve was a valued member of our community who touched and improved so many lives in the work that he did. He will be sorely missed,” Tim Rooney, CEO of Bard Valley Date Growers, said in a statement. “We have lost a true giant and a remarkable visionary in our industry.”

Through DatePac, Yuma growers were able to grade, pack and ship medjool dates under one roof, according to the statement.

He was a former president of the National Council of Agricultural Employers.

His many affiliations included Yuma Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross and the Caballeros de Yuma. He and his wife Bobbie founded the Shadle Family Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants to Yuma-area students and nonprofits.

He married Bobbie in 1957; she died shortly before him.

Memorial donations can be made to the Shadle Family Foundation in care of: Amy Gill, 1451 S. Hettema Street, Yuma, AZ, 85354.