Man credited with inventing the Pop Tart dies at 96

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(NEW YORK) — William “Bill” Post, the man often credited with inventing the beloved Pop Tart, has died at 96.

Born on June 27, 1927 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Post was one of seven children born to Dutch immigrants and, at the age of 16, Post began working part-time washing trucks at Hekman Biscuit Company, according to his obituary.

After serving in the Army Air Corps in occupied Japan during World War II, Post would eventually return to Hekman at the age of 21 to work full as the personnel manager while also assisting with sales and production, along with many of the other elements of the business.

“Fast forward 20 years, and Bill as the plant manager of Hekman (later known as the Keebler Company) welcomed some executives from Kellogg’s who asked if he thought it would be possible for Keebler to create a new product they had in mind,” according to his obituary.

“It is at this juncture that Bill is often credited for having ‘invented’ the Pop Tart,” Post’s obituary states. “To be accurate, however, 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.’”

Pop Tarts made their debut to the public in 1964 with the four original flavors of strawberry, blueberry, brown sugar cinnamon and apple-currant. Now, 60 years later, there are between 20 to 30 flavors on the market at any given time with new flavors constantly being in development and tested for an ever-changing market.

In the latter part of his life, Post would move his family to Elmhurst Illinois, to begin working at the corporate offices of the Keebler Company before leaving the company at age 56 and retiring to Glen Arbor, Michigan.

His retirement didn’t last long, however, and he accepted Kellogg’s request to be their consultant, a role he would hold for the next 20 years, which included “worldwide travel and the forging of international friendships. In 2003, Bill and Florence came full circle, moving back to Grand Rapids to be near their family,” according to his obituary.

“Bill’s immediate family also wishes to express their gratitude and thanks to his nieces and nephews who paid so much attention to him,” the obituary said.

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