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William ‘Bill’ Post, inventor of Pop-Tarts, dead at 96

william-‘bill’-post,-inventor-of-pop-tarts,-dead-at-96
William ‘Bill’ Post, inventor of Pop-Tarts, dead at 96

William “Bill” Post — the man who created the beloved toaster treat Pop-Tarts — died on Saturday, his family announced. He was 96.

Post, a Michigan native and son of immigrants who worked his way up from a truck washer to a senior vice president, brightened millions of Americans’ mornings with the sweet pastry that hit the shelves in 1964.

The great-grandfather is often credited with inventing the breakfast treat, though he would always say it was a team effort, according to his obituary.

Post was raised in Grand Rapids as one of seven children of Dutch immigrants. He married his high school sweetheart, Florence Schut, and served in the Army Air Corps in occupied Japan.

At the age of just 16, Post got a part-time gig washing trucks at Hekman Biscuit Company — what would eventually become the Keebler Company.

Five years later he rose to the full-time position of personnel manager “but assisted with sales, production, or anything else that he could learn,” his loved ones wrote in his obit.

Some 20 years later when Post was the plant manager of Hekman, he welcomed executives from Kellogg’s who asked Hekman/Keebler to develop a product they had in mind.

William

William “Bill” Post — the man who created the beloved toaster treat Pop-Tarts — died on Saturday at the age of 96.

This product would become the Pop-Tart — which is available in nearly every grocery store and supermarket in the US today.

Post did numerous interviews about his invention during his lifetime and every time he said the credit was shared.

“Bill would say, ‘I assembled an amazing team that developed Kellogg’s concept of a shelf-stable toaster pastry into a fine product that we could bring to market in the span of just four months,’,” his death notice states.

He often shared the story of the Pop-Tart with younger generations, hoping to inspire them while always giving out samples of his invention.

“Over the years, Bill has been interviewed by newspaper reporters (including the New York Times), TV reporters (History Channel, CBS, etc.), and by radio hosts in this country and abroad,” his obit says. “He was asked to tell the Pop Tart story to young people in countless classrooms and always enjoyed accommodating those requests, giving his testimony of God’s goodness to ‘the son of an immigrant,’ and bringing some of his unending supply of Pop Tarts with him.”

Eventually, Post was promoted to a senior vice president after moving to Elmhurst, Illinois to work at the corporate offices of the Keebler Company in 1967.

While a plant manager of Hekman, Post developed the product later known as

While a plant manager of Hekman, Post developed the product later known as “Pop-Tarts.” AFP via Getty Images

He later retired at age 56 and moved to Glen Arbor, Michigan, though he stayed on as a consultant for the company for another 20 years.

Post was a religious man who credited God for his success and served his local community on school boards and as a 60-year member of Gideons International.

“In spite of an extraordinary life and legendary accomplishments, Bill remained a humble man of God with a servant’s heart that seemed to overflow with generosity… He was the first to bring comfort, read scripture and offer a prayer with any friend or family member in need. He continued to fill that role to the very end of his life and leaves a big void in a very large circle of treasured friends,” his loved ones shared.

Post’s wife of 72 years and “his best friend,” Florence, died in 2020.

But he leaves behind his two children and their spouses as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren who were “the lights of his life.”

Post often shared the story of the Pop-Tart with younger generations, hoping to inspire them while always giving out samples of his invention.

Post often shared the story of the Pop-Tart with younger generations, hoping to inspire them while always giving out samples of his invention. Getty Images

“He was such a positive force that after a conversation with Bill, you would leave with a lighter heart and a brighter smile,” his loved ones wrote.

Post’s story of the four-month challenge to invent the Pop-Tart has inspired a Netflix film that is scheduled to be released in May.

The movie “Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story” is written and directed by Jerry Seinfeld, who is starring in it alongside a host of big-name comedians.

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