Forrest Mars Sr., 95, tycoon who devised M&M'sForrest Mars...

Deaths Elsewhere

July 03, 1999

Forrest Mars Sr., 95, tycoon who devised M&M's

Forrest Mars Sr. -- the man who gave the world M&M's and built one of the largest fortunes in America as a candy tycoon -- died in Miamion Thursday of natural causes. He was 95.

The story of the man behind the candy that "melts in your mouth, not in your hand," began in 1911 when Mr. Mars' father opened a small confectionary business in Tacoma, Wash. In 1940, Mr. Mars devised a candy modeled after a British treat: a circle of chocolate covered with a crunchy coating.

In part, the chocolate gems were created out of meteorological necessity.

"In those days, the stores didn't have air conditioning, the cars didn't have air conditioning, the homes didn't have air conditioning," Hans Fiuczynski, a former Mars spokesman said in 1990 on the 50th anniversary of M&M's. Originally sold in paper tubes, the candy came in brown, yellow, orange, red, green and violet, later replaced by tan. Beginning in 1950, the candies were stamped with the trademark "M" to assure customers they were getting the real thing.

M&M's were packed in World War II military rations, served at the 1984 Olympics and launched with 31 shuttle flights as of 1990. Peanut M&Ms came out in 1954.

Mr. Mars' sons, Forrest Jr. and John, are co-presidents of the privately held company. In its rankings of richest Americans last fall, Forbes listed Forrest Jr. as 29th richest and his father behind him.

Mr. Mars' wife, Audrey, died in 1989.

The Mars company, which employs 30,000 workers, also makes Skittles, Milky Way, Dove, Snickers and Three Musketeers. They also manufacture Uncle Ben's Rice, several pet foods and other snacks.

Joshua Nkomo, 82, father of Zimbabwe's fight for independence from white colonial rule, died of prostate cancer Thursday in Harare. State radio interrupted morning programs to play the national anthem and liberation songs, and broadcast a tribute to the former vice president by President Robert Mugabe. Poor health forced Mr. Nkomo -- regarded by many as the guiding light of the nation's black nationalist movement -- to withdraw from political life last year.

Isaac Campbell Kidd Jr., 79, a retired admiral who in the mid-1970s was simultaneously commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and NATO's supreme allied commander in the Atlantic, died of cancer Sunday in Alexandria, Va.

Frank Gach, 83, an American imprisoned at Auschwitz for selling commodities on the Polish black market, died Monday in Elkhart, Ind. Of thousands of Americans imprisoned by the Nazis, Mr. Gach was among the 200 or so who made it out alive.

Viktor Chebrikov, 76, head of the Soviet-era KGB who presided over the downing of a South Korean airliner carrying 269 people over Russia's Far East, died Thursday in Moscow, security officials said yesterday.

Edward Dmytryk, 90, a film director who served prison time during the Red Scare-era witch hunts of the 1940s and was blacklisted until he named names of his communist comrades, died Thursday in Los Angeles of heart and kidney failure.

Cindy Duehring, 36, who won international honors for environmental research while confined to her Epping, N.D., home, died Tuesday in her home, where she lived in isolation because of an extreme sensitivity to chemicals. Mrs. Duehring was among five people honored in Sweden in 1997 with the Right Livelihood Awards, known as the "alternative Nobels."

John P. Howe, 88, a physical chemist who helped develop the world's first nuclear reactors as part of the Manhattan Project team, died June 13 in San Diego.

Pub Date: 7/03/99

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