Former Mars candy co-president dies at 84

Forrest Mars Jr., former co-president of the candy empire that bears his name, died Tuesday at 84.

According to an obituary in The Wall Street Journal, Mars died of complications of a heart attack suffered during a visit to Seattle.

The Mars company, with worldwide confectionery brands including Snickers, M&Ms and Wrigley, was founded in Tacoma in 1911 by Forrest Mars Jr.’s grandfather, Frank C. Mars.

Begun in the Proctor District with a recipe for buttercream candy, the company and Frank Mars endured bankruptcies before the Milky Way bar, introduced in 1923, established the overall brand.

Forrest Mars Jr. was appointed co-president of the company, alongside his brother, in 1975. When the brothers took office, according to the Journal article, the company recorded annual sales of approximately $1 billion. Current annual sales approach $35 billion, and Mars is estimated to control nearly one-third of the U.S. chocolate market.

After his 1999 retirement, Mars remained on the company board of directors until 2006.

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535