Echols held a number of industry positions during his career. But it was as chairman of the Cotton Council in 2001 that he will be best remembered. He guided the NCC during the opening stages of the debate on the 2002 farm bill and helped see it to a successful conclusion.

He had retired in April after serving as president and chief executive officer of Memphis-based Cargill Cotton Co., for 13 years. Echols spent 43 with Cargill Cotton, formerly known as Hohenberg Brothers Co.

Besides serving as chairman of the NCC, he also was a former president and chairman of Cotton Council International, the overseas promotion and marketing arm of the cotton industry.

“His integrity and leadership skills were second to none,” said Gary Taylor, who succeeded Echols as CEO of Cargill Cotton. “Jim will be sorely missed by the cotton industry and the employees at Cargill Cotton.”

Visitation is scheduled for 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. tonight at Canale Funeral Home, 2700 Union Ave. Ext. in Memphis. Services will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis. Memorials may be sent to: Second Presbyterian Church World Missions, to the Church Health Center, 1210 Peabody Ave., Memphis, TN 30104 or to the American Cancer Society, 1378 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38104.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com