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Forrest E. Mars Jr. Dies At 84

Posted On: 7/29/2016

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TAGS: Forrest E. Mars Jr., vending, candymaking empire, M&M's, Snickers

Forrest E. Mars Jr., vending
Forrest Mars Jr.

Forrest E. Mars Jr., who helped build Mars Inc. into a multibillion-dollar candymaking empire, died on July 26. He was 84.

Mars died in Seattle of complications from a heart attack. He had been living in Sheridan, WY.

The retired Mars co-president and his brother and sister, John and Jacqueline, inherited the company, whose iconic brands include M&M's and Snickers, in 1973 from their father, Forrest E. Mars Sr. Their grandfather started the company more than a century ago, making candy in his Tacoma, WA, kitchen.

Forrest Mars Jr., a Yale graduate, began his career in 1955 as a certified public accountant, working as an auditor for Price Waterhouse after serving in the U.S. Army for two years. He then joined the family candy business as a financial staff officer for M&M Candies, and steadily rose through the ranks.

In 1970, he assumed responsibility for the company's confectionery operations as group vice-president and worked alongside his brother John, who managed the company's pet food, vending, money-handling and Flavia divisions.

The two brothers eventually assumed joint responsibility for all company functions and, in 1975, they became co-presidents of Mars Inc. Together they helped increase annual sales from $1 billion to $35 billion and expanded the company's reach internationally. The company now has more than 80,000 employees in 78 countries.

Forrest retired in 1999 and served on Mars' board until 2006.

He is survived by his wife, four children, 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren, along with his two siblings.