(Feb. 27) It seems Bill O’Donnell, a founding member of the Produce Marketing Association and pioneer in the prepackaging business, will be remembered most for his ability to look into the future.

O’Donnell, 93, died Feb. 22 in Andover, Mass.

“Bill was a wiry little guy who had a tremendous number of ideas, seemed to be ahead of his time,” said Bob Carey, president of the Newark, Del.-based PMA for 38 years, ending in 1996. “He felt that fresh should be able to compete with frozen as far as convenience is concerned.”

Suffolk Farms Packing Co., Boston, of which O’Donnell was president, introduced a line of precut vegetables in 1936. Thirteen years later, O’Donnell became a founding member of the Produce Prepackaging Association, which became PMA in 1971.

Suffolk became Community-Suffolk Inc., a wholesale and prepackaging operation, after a 1969 merger.

Carey, who started at PMA in 1958, said he knew O’Donnell for about 30 years. He said O’Donnell stayed attuned to the industry into his 80s.

In 1989, O’Donnell attended a 40th anniversary PMA reunion in Reno, Nev., said Bryan Silbermann, Carey’s successor. He said O’Donnell was eager for information on the latest industry trends.

Silbermann said the precut vegetable veteran was fascinated by bagged salads, which had started to come on the scene in small volumes.

“He still asked lots of questions — what’s happening, what’s on the horizon,” Silbermann said.

Dick Spezzano, president of Spezzano Consulting Services, Monrovia, Calif., said O’Donnell had a sharp mind and future-oriented outlook.

“He had the foresight to see that there was a need for an association that was being driven by the marketing side vs. the production side,” he said.

In addition to his PMA service and work with precut packaging, O’Donnell received The Packer’s first Produce Marketing Man of the Year Award in 1963. O’Donnell is survived by two daughters.

Memorial contributions may be made to the William O’Donnell Fund at St. Michael’s Church, 190 Main St., North Andover, MA 01845.

O’Donnell’s funeral was planned for Feb. 27.