GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Bob Bush, former president and CEO of Green Bay-based Schreiber Foods, passed away Thursday at the age of 93.
The company posted on its Facebook page that Bush died in Green Bay early Thursday morning.
Bush was the son of Schreiber Foods founder Merlin Bush. He was one of the company's original owners and became president in 1978. He was also a longtime board member, chairman of the board and Chair Emeritus.
He joined the company after graduating college, shortly after it was founded as L.D. Schreiber Cheese Co.
During his tenure as company president and then chairman of the board, Schreiber Foods grew from a $12 million company with one plant to a $1.5 billion company with 19 plants, according to the National Cheese Institute. The company changed its name to Schreiber Foods in 1980 to reflect its more diverse product line.
According to the National Cheese Institute, Bush held 17 patents and his engineering expertise led to the production of individually-wrapped cheese slices in 1967 -- a revolution for the cheese industry. Bush once boasted "there is a 90 percent chance" the cheese you get on a burger in a restaurant is from Schreiber Foods.
Mike Haddad, the executive chair of the board of directors, wrote, "We've lost a giant of a man whose impact on our company and Northeast Wisconsin will truly be felt forever."
Haddad asked that people keep Bush's wife and his family in their prayers, "and at the same time, rejoice in the incredible life of this amazing man."
In 1999, he was recognized by the Wisconsin Senate with a certificate of commendation "for his 43 years of service to Schreiber Foods and contributions to the Green Bay community."
In 2010, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in food science by his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In 2014, he received the NCI Laureate Award, the National Cheese Institute's highest honor.