A Tribute To Mr. Mars (2024)

Many of us can follow the linking thread throughout our family lineage to discover our kinfolk’s legacy. Some families are in the humble and noble pursuit of passing down trade professions, like being a generational shoe cobbler family; others, may look to the seas and view their family’s legacy as seafarers before them. For Forrest Mars, Jr., he looked to the Milky Way to guide him, though, not by looking to the stars but in the form of chocolate-y malted delight. I’m talking about the Milky Way candy bar, of course.

Mr. Mars had the confectionary history to trace his roots of that founded by his grandfather Franklin Clarence Mars who had, admittedly, limited success in forming Mars, Incorporated out of a small kitchen in Tacoma, Seattle in the 1920’s, who then passed the reins on to his son, Forrest Mars, Sr., where the family business was introduced to the global markets, then the keys were passed to Forrest Mars, Jr. — along with his sister, Jacqueline Mars — has been credited with much of what we know Mars, Inc. to be today, a behemoth, multi-faceted company bringing in $35 billion in annual sales. How’s that for a treat?


Life is a fickle thing, but legacy is forever. Forrest Mars, Jr. was the 25th richest man in the world, but despite that lofty ranking — he did well to fit right in with the western charm and lifestyle only a special place like Wyoming can offer, after his move to Sheridan. His personal legacy permeated throughout the places he called home, much like it did from his homestead here in Sheridan. Most folk fancy themselves to think he lived way up on the mountainside in a secluded candy palace all to himself; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth for Mr. Mars. Now whether that was because of his unique upbringing or Wyoming having a profound influence on him or simply both, is beside the fact that he lived here by choice. He was a person of meekness, compassion, and kindness. A person well at home in our thriving Wyoming culture we all know and love.

To the uninformed, Mr. Mars moved to the beloved town of Sheridan, Wyoming in 1999, the same year his father, Forrest Mars, Sr., had passed away. Mr. Mars was without a doubt a business magnate, but for reasons almost completely unrelated to the chocolate empire at Mars, Inc., his presence as a bone fide local in Wyoming was something to behold. He frequented the local shops. He dined at the local restaurants in town. He became another friendly and welcoming face to the local community of Sheridan. So much so, you would be hard-pressed to walk around these parts to find someone who isn’t familiar with the local impact and fond memories formed as a result of the Mars’ family living here in Wyoming. From owning and living on their ranch property to donating financial gifts to build and expand community centers and even hosting friends for a self-prepared dinner, their giving hands were far-reaching in a place he loved to call home in his later years.

Bob Berger, a good friend to Mr. Mars—or as Berger affectionately knows him to be, calling him Forrest—said, “Forrest was a close friend, and had been for years.” Spending time here in Wyoming and Montana, Mr. Berger would find himself traveling with his friend Forrest. “He was a delight to know and be with, and to share adventures.” Berger echoed the sentiments about Mr. Mars and his relationship with Wyoming, “Forrest, really liked Wyoming, really liked the people here. He made many friends. He fit into the local society.” It didn’t matter much what your background was, “He easily fit in with others even those of differing circ*mstances.”

When I asked Berger about what he knew of Forrest’s usually quiet financial gifts to Wyoming, he was quick to list a range of his local endeavors, “He supported the Sheridan WYO Rodeo, the Snicker’s Soccer Cup tournament hosting teams from all over Wyoming, he also contributed to many community building projects, such as the major expansion to the WYO Theater, an expansion to the local senior center, an aquatic center for the YMCA, and the M&M’s Center with a magnificent indoor ice skating ring.” And, soon to open, the Mars Agricultural Center at Sheridan College.

Continuing on, one of the most notable intrigue of Forrest’s contributions was that to the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, “an old wood-framed ranch house with a $20 million-dollar addition,” as Mr. Berger put it. “It’s an amazing display of Western history, artwork, and artifacts that can stand up to any of the nation’s greatest museums.” Mr. Mars always had a special place in his heart for the preservation of what he felt was worth sharing with others, such as museums, educational programs, preservation of wildlife, and much more.

Mr. Mars strongly believed in genuine relationships and their governing principles. It is simply the type of person he was. Even after his passing, folks around Wyoming continue to see the fruit of Mr. Mars’ philanthropy. The man himself is still receiving awards, like the most recent Governor’s Arts Award bestowed upon him by the Wyoming Arts Council. Also, Forrest and his surviving wife Jacomien Mars are the winners of the Senior Center’s Keystone Award that will be presented at a ceremony in April.

Anyone you can think to speak with here in Sheridan can provide you a firsthand account as to why and how Mr. Mars was one of our own in every way. He was a gracious man who was as selfless as they come. Something we locals pride ourselves in. Welcoming all with open arms and treating one another with the utmost respect, always with a friendly smile and nod, and always offering a helping hand.

So, the next time you indulge in a piece of the – Melts in your mouth, not in your hand, M&M’s, the You’re not you when you’re hungry, Snickers Bars – chocolate goodness produced by Mars, perhaps say a little prayer and a thank you to Mr. Mars, because he has left behind a little something we can all continue to enjoy. In Wyoming, we all shared a moment of silence as Mr. Mars recently passed. But rather than focus on where he is now, let us celebrate him and take the baton to treating others as they ought to be treated and always lending a helping hand should the opportunity present itself.

You, Mr. Mars, were truly an exemplary soul and one we were proud to call our own.

Thank you.

— Wyoming Magazine

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A Tribute To Mr. Mars (2024)


Is Forrest Mars SR still alive? ›

What has happened to the founder of M&M's? ›

Mars died on July 1, 1999 at the age of 95. At the time of his death, his estimated net worth of $4 billion made him one of the richest people in the U.S., according to Forbes magazine. His sons, Forrest Mars, Jr. and John Mars, are now executives with the candy company.

Was Forrest Mars allergic to peanuts? ›

They were possibly modeled after Smarties. Peanut M&M's were introduced in 1954 although Forrest had been allergic to peanuts his entire life. Murrie later left the business. Following the death of his father, Forrest Mars took over the family business, Mars, Inc, merging it with his own company in 1964.

Who owns Mars Candy? ›

The Mars family own Mars Inc., one of the world's largest candy and pet food companies, with sales of $47 billion. Some family members work at the company and serve on the board of directors. Mars was founded in 1911 when Frank Mars started selling candy out of his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington.

What does the M stand for in M&M's? ›

The M&M name actually represents the two people who came up with the idea. M&M stands for Mars and Murrie - named after Forrest E. Mars Sr. – the founder of Mars – and Bruce Murrie, the son of Hershey Chocolate's president William F. R.

Who are the heirs of the Mars family? ›

Victoria Mars and her three sisters are heirs to the family's giant candy and pet food company, Mars, Incorporated. She and her sisters all inherited their own estimated 8% stakes in the company when their father Forrest Mars Jr. died in 2016. Her great-grandfather Frank Mars founded the candy company in 1911.

Why is M&M's being renamed? ›

The company recently announced it was dropping its 'spokescandies' because the desexualisation of the green M&M had upset people so much. M&M's told the world it had replaced the candies with comic Maya Rudolph. And now it has gone a step further, by changing its name completely. Goodbye M&M's, hello Ma&Ya's.

Why is there a controversy on M&M? ›

Summary. The Green and Brown M&M's mascots caused controversy due to a minor change in their appearance, with conservatives criticizing the shift as being too "woke" and feminists arguing it was a poor attempt at inclusivity.

Who owns M&Ms now? ›

Introduction. One of the largest privately owned companies in the country, Mars is responsible for many of the candy, gum, and pet food brands you see at the grocery store, like Wrigley's, M&Ms, Twix, and Pedigree.

Why don't M&M's melt in your hand? ›

The crispy sugar coating itself has a much higher melting point than the temperature of the skin. Therefore, the temperature of the skin will not melt the crispy sugar coating – keeping the chocolate inside safe from direct contact with the relatively high temperature of the skin.

Why are M&Ms so addictive? ›

Rats fed M&Ms produced a naturally occurring opioid-receptor binding compound called enkephalin which binds to similar reward pathways in the neostriatum area of the brain as opiates like heroin. The neostriatum region is linked to food and drug addiction in humans.

How many M&Ms are made every day? ›

There are over 400 million produced each day and "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies are made all over the world. In the U.S. they are made in New Jersey and Tennessee. What are the colors of "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies?

What dog food does Mars make? ›

Mars Petcare

Our 50+ global brands include PEDIGREE®, Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN®, AniCura, WISDOM PANEL™ and VCA™.

What religion is the Mars family? ›

Jacob & Anna Mars came to Florida from Philadelphia and settled in NMB in 1953 where they joined the Jewish Center of Monticello Park. Jacob became a daily minyanaire from the start. He attended daily morning minyan and afternoon/evening Mincha-Maariv Services as well as Shabbat Services each week.

Does Hershey own M&M Mars? ›

M&M's are the flagship product of the Mars Wrigley Confectionery division of Mars, Incorporated.

Where is Forrest Mars buried? ›

Mars eventually came back to his Minnesota roots. He is buried in a mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery in south Minneapolis, along with his second wife and son Forrest.

How rich is the Mars family? ›

Meet the Mars family, heirs to the Snickers and M&M's candy empire, who avoided the limelight for years. The Mars family has a net worth of $117 billion and helms the candy empire Mars Inc. That makes them America's second-richest family, according to a 2024 Forbes ranking.

Who are the daughters of the Mars family? ›

  • Victoria B. Mars – daughter of Forrest E. Mars Jr. and Virginia C. ...
  • Valerie Anne Mars – daughter of Forrest E. Mars Jr. and Virginia C. ...
  • Pamela D. Mars-Wright (born Pamela Diane Mars, 1960/1961) daughter of Forrest E. Mars Jr. ...
  • Marijke Elizabeth Mars (born 1965) – daughter of Forrest E. Mars Jr. and Virginia C.

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