( Photo courtesy McGill Associates; graphic by Amelia Freidline )

Melissa “Missy” McDill, the founder and president of McDill Associates who coined the “triple washed” term, has died.

McDill brought exceptional creativity, strategic thinking and heart to everything she did, according to a McDill Associates statement.

A native of Salinas, Calif., McDill established McDill Associates in the 1970s. She was a pioneer in the produce industry at a time when there were not many women, and mentored many others, according to the statement

McDill came up with the idea of value-added produce snack packs for children and invented the first refrigerated, footed bowl, according to the statement.

To help fresh produce compete against salty snacks during the Super Bowl in the 1990s, she gave Grimmway Farms the idea for carrot chips, according to the statement.

McDill was part of building some of the largest agricultural brands in companies’ formative years. 

Her leadership earned hundreds of design and marketing awards for McDill’s clients over the years, including Tanimura & Antle, California Giant Berry Co., Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Sakata Seeds. 

More recently, she was focused on the agency’s clients in the natural foods category, the rebrand of Pink Lady apples and the global launch of Cosmic Crisp apples, according to the statement.  

McDill Associates will continue under the direction of 18-year company veteran and executive vice president Lisa Hansen and with board oversight by Julie McDill, who has been with McDill Associates for 25 years.

McDill is survived by husband Bill Gurmin and son McCoy McDill-Gurmin; sisters Debbi McDill, Julie McDill, Laurie Leslie; brothers John McDill and Budj McDill; and stepchildren Tiffany Keith and Torre Gurmin.

The date for the celebration of her life has not yet been set. Donations in her memory can go to Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services.