Leonard Marsh, the co-founder of the Snapple beverage brand, died Tuesday at his Manhasset, N.Y. home. He was 80.
Marsh's death was confirmed Thursday by the Plano, TX-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc., the current owner of Snapple.
Snapple began in New York in 1972 as Unadulterated Food Products, which sold natural fruit juices to health food stores. Marsh, a window washer who would later serve as CEO of Snapple, launched the business on the side with his brother-in-law Hyman Golden and childhood friend Arnold Greenberg.
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The trio didn't introduce the brand name until 1980 and its popularity quickly soared as consumers clamoured for healthier beverage options.
Snapple was considered a leader in the "New Age" beverage movement at the time. Its combination of unusual flavour combinations of tea and juice, along with quirky advertising, was a hit with consumers. It inspired a number of competitors, particularly as soft drink companies took notice of the demand for drinks with natural ingredients.
Quaker Oats Co. bought Snapple for $1.7 billion in 1994. Marsh stayed on for several years after the acquisition as executive vice-president for planning before he retired.
"We're saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Marsh," Jim Trebilock, executive vice-president of marketing for the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, said in a statement. "He, along with his partners Arnold Greenberg and Hyman Golden, brought the best stuff on Earth to the masses. Today we tip our Snapple cap in his honor."
A representative for Marsh's family was not immediately available to comment.
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Marsh is the last of the Snapple founders to pass away. Golden died in 2008 and Greenberg died last year.
Born on Jan. 5, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, Marsh was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. His father was a cobbler, the New York Times reports.
In addition to his sister, Mildred Golden, Marsh is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marian Ebner; a daughter, Robin Ross; two sons, Bradley and Peter; and eight grandchildren.
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