Franklin Clarence Mars

Franklin Clarence Mars

Franklin Clarence Mars
Born September 24, 1883
Hancock, Minnesota
Died April 8, 1934(1934-04-08) (aged 50)
Chester Springs, Pennsylvania or Baltimore, Maryland
Occupation Founder of Mars, Inc.
Spouse(s) Ethel G. Kissack (m. 1902, div.)
Ethel Veronica Healy (m. 1910)
Children Forrest Mars (b. 1904, with Ethel G.)
Patricia Mars (with Ethel V.)

Franklin Clarence Mars (September 24, 1883 – April 8, 1934), sometimes known as Frank C. Mars, was a United States business magnate who founded the food company Mars, Incorporated, which makes mostly chocolate candy. Mars' son Forrest Edward Mars developed M&M's and the Mars bar.


  • Family 1
  • Mars, Incorporated 2
  • Horse racing 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Frank Mars was born in 1883 in Hancock, Minnesota.[1] He learned how to hand-dip chocolate candy as a child from his mother Alva, who hoped to entertain him as he had a mild case of polio.[1] He began to sell molasses chips at age 19.[2]

Mars and Ethel G. Kissack (September 29, 1882 – April 11, 1980),[3] a schoolteacher, were married in 1902.[1] Their son, Forrest Mars, Sr., was born in 1904 in Wadena, Minnesota.[1] They divorced.

Mars and Ethel Veronica Healy (1884 – December 25, 1945) were married in 1910.[4] That year he began to sell candy wholesale in Tacoma, Washington.[2]

Mars, Incorporated

In 1920, they moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Mars founded Mar-O-Bar Co. and began to manufacture chocolate candy bars.[2] The company later incorporated as Mars, Incorporated.[2] In 1923 he introduced his son Forrest's idea,[5] the Milky Way, which became the best-selling candy bar.[2] Mars moved to Chicago in 1929[2] and settled in River Forest. He became an honorary captain of the Oak Park, Illinois police department.[2]

In 1930, Mars developed the Snickers Bar.[5]

Mars died from heart problems in 1934[2] at age 50, with the ownership of the family business passing to his son Forrest.

Horse racing

Milky Way Farm Manor House, May 2014.

In the late 1920s, in Pulaski, Tennessee, Mars bought a number of local farms and constructed a large estate called Milky Way Farm. During its construction, Mars employed more than 935 men from Giles County to build a 25,000 square feet (2,300 m²) clubhouse, more than 30 barns, a horse racing track.[6] Gallahadion won the Kentucky Derby in 1940 after Mars died.[2]

White stone mausoleum with iron doors and
Mars private mausoleum in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis

Mars lived the remainder of his life on the 2,800 acre (11 km²) farm and was buried there upon his death in 1934.[6] After Milky Way Farm was sold,[6] the remains of Mars and his wife Ethel V. Mars were moved to a private mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, where they both currently reside.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "History". Mars, Incorporated. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Franklin Mars". The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  3. ^ "Descendants of Gilbert Kissack". Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Ethel V. Mars, Head of Candy Firm, Dies".  
  5. ^ a b El-Hai, Jack (March 2007). "Candy Bar Combat". Minnesota Monthly (Greenspring Media Group). Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  6. ^ a b c "History @ Milky Way Farm". Milky Way Farm. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  7. ^ "Burial Search". Lakewood Cemetery. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  • "Mars Family". Practically Edible. Retrieved 2007-11-11.