Augustus Eugene Staley

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Augustus Eugene "Gene" Staley, Sr

Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: North Carolina, United States
Death: Died in Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States
Place of Burial: Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Staley and Mary Jane Staley
Husband of Emma Louise Staley
Father of Ruth Howell; Augustus Eugene Staley, Jr; Mary Louise Annan and Andrew Rollin Staley
Brother of Arthur E. Staley; Georgiana Coble and Willa C. Garner

Managed by: Private User
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About Augustus Eugene Staley

American entrepreneur Augustus Eugene (Gene) Staley was born in 1867 on his father's 265-acre red clay farm in North Carolina . Busy with farm work, Gene dropped out of primary school after a few years. Aged 14 he successfully sold a wagon-load of his father's produce in the nearest town. He soon decided he liked selling better than farming, so he left the farm in 1883 (at age 16) and went on the road selling food products, including starch.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Staley was buying bulk starch for two cents a pound, repackaging it under his own Cream Starch label, and selling it for a profit of five cents a pound. When his suppliers realized that Staley was serious competition, they joined together to cut off his supply of raw materials. Staley responded by setting up the A E Staley Manufacturing Company in 1906. He bought a starch plant in Decatur, Illinois, and began processing on 12 March 1912, grinding 1,000 pounds of corn per day.

The company has been involved in a number of notable achievements: including the construction of the Staley dam in Decatur (now the Lake Decatur dam) in 1919; the introduction of soybean processing; the development of a nutrient for penicillin; the continuing expansion of the company's research and development programs and facilities; and the growth in a range of products manufactured across the USA and Mexico.

Gene Staley died in 1940, having seen his son, A E Staley Jnr (Gus) become president of the company in 1932.


Augustus Eugene Staley (25 February 1867 – 26 December 1940) founded a sales company for food starch in Baltimore in 1898. On 6 November 1906, he bought a factory in Decatur, Illinois in order to start the production of food starch. The factory began processing on March 12, 1912.

The company has produced many famous household brands including Staley Pancake and Waffle Syrup, Sta-Puf fabric softener, and Sta-Flo liquid starch. The two latter brands were subsequently sold to Dial.

A. E. Staley Manufacturing was one of the largest processors of corn in the United States, second only to the Archer Daniels Midland Corporation, also based in Decatur, Illinois. It also processed soybeans under a partnership agreement with Archer Daniels Midland at its Decatur, Illinois plant.

In 1985, A. E. Staley purchased CFS Continental, a wholesale grocery company, for $360 million. A. E. Staley stated a need to diversify away from bulk food processing. After the acquisition, A. E. Staley changed its name to Staley Continental.

In 1988, British company Tate & Lyle acquired 90% of A. E. Staley for $1.42 billion. Prior to the purchase, Tate & Lyle announced that it planned to sell CFS Continental to SYSCO, another wholesale grocer, for $700 million to help fund the acquisition. In 2000, Tate & Lyle acquired the remaining 10% of A. E. Staley.

Chicago Bears football team

In March of 1920 a man telephoned me ... George Chamberlain and he was general superintendent of the A.E. Staley Company ... In 1919, [the company's Fellowship Club] had formed a football team. It had done well against other local teams but Mr. Staley wanted to build it into a team that could compete successfully with the best semi-professional and industrial teams in the country ... Mr. Chamberlain asked if I would like to come to Decatur and work for the Staley Company.

—George Halas, in his book Halas by Halas.

Staley founded a company football team, the Decatur Staleys, in 1919. The players worked as semi-professionals in his factory. The team was a charter member of what became the National Football League in 1920. In 1921, Staley turned the team over to George Halas, who moved it to Chicago, changing the team name to the Chicago Bears a year later. The team's mascot since 2003 is Staley Da Bear.

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Augustus Eugene Staley's Timeline

February 25, 1867
North Carolina, United States
Age 33
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
July 24, 1903
Age 36
September 17, 1905
Age 38
May 16, 1907
Age 40
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
December 26, 1940
Age 73
Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States
Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, United States