Joel Gill, vice president of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, died Oct. 18 in a car crash in Mississippi. He was 61.

The mayor of Pickens, Miss., Gill was a regional director for R-CALF, was its membership committee co-chair and led the group's committee on the Beef Checkoff.

The second-generation cattle business owner is credited for building support for country-of-origin labeling and helping to stop the mandatory National Animal Identification System, according to an R-CALF news release.

Former R-CALF director Margene Eiguren of Jordan Valley, Ore., said she will always remember Gill for his positive attitude and gentleness.

"The writing of St. Francis De Sales speaks to me of Joel; 'Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength,'" she said in a statement.

Gill, a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully last year for state agriculture commissioner in Mississippi. He has also run for Congress in the past, according to The Associated Press.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. Ben Williams told the AP that Gill's car ran off Highway 17 and struck a tree. It's not clear what caused the accident.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, one daughter, one son and four grandsons.

--Tim Hearden

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