William M Wrigley, Jr. (1861 - 1932) MP

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Death: Died in Catalina Island, Los Angeles, California, USA
Managed by: Tim Gorman
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About William M Wrigley, Jr.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wrigley,_Jr

William Wrigley Jr. (September 30, 1861–January 26, 1932) was a U.S. chewing gum industrialist. He was founder and eponym of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company in 1891. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Wrigley played an instrumental role in the history of Catalina Island, off the shore of Los Angeles, California. He bought controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island Company in 1919 and with the company he received the island for free. Wrigley improved the island with public utilities, new steamships, a hotel, the Casino building, and extensive plantings of trees, shrubs and flowers. He also sought to create an enterprise which would help employ local residents. By using clay and minerals found on the island in 1927 William Wrigley Jr. created the Pebbly Beach quarry and tile plant, at a beach located near Avalon. Along with creating a job market for Avalon residents, the plant also provided materials for Wrigley's numerous building projects on the island. After the building of Avalon's Casino (see Avalon Theater (Catalina)) in 1929, the Catalina Clay Products Tile and Pottery Plant began churning out handmade glazed tiles, dinnerware and other practical household items such as bookends. Nowadays, Catalina art pottery are highly popular antique collectibles.

However, William Wrigley Jr.'s greatest legacy was his plan for the future of Catalina Island — that it remain protected for all generations to enjoy. His son, P.K. Wrigley, eventually established the Catalina Island Conservancy for this in 1972 and transferred all family ownership to it. Wrigley is honored with the Wrigley Memorial in the Wrigley Botanical Gardens on the island.

Wrigley was also owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, which held its annual spring training on Catalina Island. Wrigley Field, the Cubs' ballpark in Chicago, is named for the owner. The now-demolished former home of the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, at that time the Cubs' top farm team, was also called Wrigley Field. He purchased the Chicago Cubs from Albert Lasker in 1925. The Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona was partially financed, then wholly owned, by Wrigley, who finished the nearby Wrigley Mansion as a winter cottage in 1931. At 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) it was the smallest of his five residences.

Death

William Wrigley Jr. died January 26, 1932 at his Phoenix, Arizona mansion, at age 70, and was interred in his custom-designed sarcophogus near his beloved home on California's Catalina Island, located in the tower of the island's Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens. But a decade after his death, Wrigley was moved during World War II due to war/security concerns. His original grave memorial marker still adorns the tower site. Wrigley was reinterred in the corridor alcove end of the Sanctuary of Gratitude, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. He left his fortune to daughter Dorothy Wrigley Offield, and son, P.K. Wrigley, who continued to run the company businesses for the next 45 years until his death, in 1977, and whose ashes today rests near his father, in the same Sanctuary of Gratitude alcove.

His great-grandson William Wrigley, Jr. II is the executive-chairman and ex CEO of the Wrigley Company. Mr Wrigley, Jr. was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2000.

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William M Wrigley, Jr.'s Timeline

1861
September 30, 1861
1894
December 5, 1894
Age 33
1932
January 26, 1932
Age 70
Catalina Island, Los Angeles, California, USA
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