July 8, 2009

Oscar Mayer ’34, Retired Chair of Meat Company, Dies at 95

Print More

Oscar G. Mayer ’34, retired chairman of Oscar Mayer Foods and former business manager of The Sun, died on Monday at the age of 95.

Mayer’s wife, Geraldine, told The Associated Press that he died from complications of old age.

Mayer was the third generation to run the family meat business, which was started by his grandfather, Oscar F. Mayer.

Mayer was named president of Oscar Mayer Foods in 1955 and worked for a total of 41 years at the company. During his tenure, Mayer oversaw tremendous growth at the company, as it went national and implemented the iconic “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener … ” campaign.

Mayer retired as chairman of the board of Oscar Mayer Foods in 1977, shortly after the company recorded its first $1 billion year, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Oscar Mayer is now a division of Kraft Foods.

Mayer served as business manager at The Sun from 1933 to 1934.

In addition, Mayer apparently held another title while at The Sun — that of softball star.

According to an article from May 16, 1932, Mayer was one of nine Sun staffers who competed in a pick-up softball game on Sage Green against Ithaca Journal staffers.

“Mayer turned in the best batting average, slugging some half dozen home runs in the course of the game,” which propelled The Sun to a 26-15 victory over The Journal, the article states.

Mayer lived in Madison, Wis. and was a “fierce guardian of Oscar Mayer’s reputation as a good corporate citizen” as well as an “active participant” in civic and charitable organizations, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Mayer was also a contributor to The Cornell Daily Sun Alumni Association.