Lester Ferdinand Borchardt (1907 - 2007)
Cheerios, originally called Cheerioats, were invented by Lester Borchardt back in 1941, but Cheerios almost didn't happen.
Les and his team were working on the machine to puff cereal, like Cheerios, but his boss wanted them to stop the project. Les insisted they go on, and two months later, Cheerios was born.
"Some people referred to him as a genius, and I do think he was," said Les' Daughter-in-Law Mary Borchardt.
Years ago Les' granddaughter drank a bottle of furniture polish. Cheerios may have helped save her life.
"So we took her to the emergency and had her stomach pumped. The doctor came out and said if she hadn't had such a good breakfast of Cheerios and milk, she would have not made it," said Mary Borchardt.
Les' family said he was humble and didn't talk about all his inventions and patents. He had 11 of them and he also helped come up with the process to fortify milk with vitamin D.
He worked at General Mills for more than 35 years and his daughter said he ate Cheerios just about every morning of his life. - WCCO
Have a big bowl of Cheerios for Les sometime this week. What a terrific way to pay tribute.
...In a brief autobiography he wrote after retiring, Borchardt said he took pride in bucking his corporate bosses when he felt it was necessary. He discussed one research team's work on a piece of equipment used in the production of breakfast cereals like Cheerios.
A worker came up with an idea for increasing the machine's output, so Borchardt decided it was worth pursuing to see whether it would work.
"Two years and $150,000 later my superior passed on to me the word that his superior felt that the time had come to terminate the projects," Borchardt wrote. But Borchardt said his staff thought they were close to a breakthrough, so he stood his ground.
Two months later, the project was a success. At the time he retired, Borchardt said, the company estimated the process was saving it $1 million a year. - St. Paul Press