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 J. Willard Marriott

J. Willard Marriott

Birth
Marriott, Weber County, Utah, USA
Death 13 Aug 1985 (aged 84)
Concord, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, USA
Burial Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Plot Block 6, lot-Be1, space 9
Memorial ID 6605 · View Source
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Entrepreneur, Philanthropist. He created a worldwide hospitality empire with a combination of hard work, initiative, and motivation. He began working early in life on the family farm in a small town founded by his grandfather. Being given the responsibilities of a man, the youth went into business for himself, enlisting his younger siblings to help raise crops to sell. He continued assisting his father, a Mormon rancher, who expected the young J. Willard to complete all tasks, even if he hadn't been shown how. At age 19, he undertook missionary work in New England. Known as being a deeply religious man, he traveled east to preach the Gospel, ending up in Washington, D.C., sometime during the summer. Upon returning home after completing two years of missionary work, he soon realized without having an education, his desire of a career beyond working on his father's ranch might not be possible. Never completing high school, he talked his way into college. During his senior year at the University of Utah, an A&W root beer stand opened in Salt Lake City. Impressed by its success, coupled with his forethought of a prime location, he secured franchise rights to a nine-stool A&W root beer stand in Washington, D.C., opening in May of 1927. A few weeks later in June, he married Alice Sheets, who actively participated in the root beer stand's daily operations. It was from her suggestion, judging from the decline of business in the colder months, to add hot food to the menu. With the expanded menu, his root beer stand evolved into the popular family eatery he called "Hot Shoppe." Always seeking out innovative ways to improve his company, he successfully pioneered "drive-in" service at his restaurant. By 1932, he had seven Hot Shoppes in the Washington area, and was close to being a millionaire. By 1953, he had fifty-six restaurants serving 30 million customers per year. It wasn't until 1957 that he expanded his business to hotels, opening the Twin Bridges Motor Motel in Arlington, Virginia. With a 7 million dollar price tag, the 370-bed Twin Bridges was the largest motel in the world. He was a generous humanitarian who gave both time and money to support causes dear to his heart, with a special emphasis on education. He was a supporter of Republican causes and candidates among them Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, and George Romney, former Governor of Michigan, a fellow Mormon. He served as Chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee at the Nixon inaugurations in 1969 and 1973. He was awarded (posthumously) the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988. His original investment had grown to include 143 hotels and 1,700 restaurants, an airline catering service, entertainment parks, cruise ships and travel services. At the time of his death, his empire was worth more than 3.5 billion dollars.

Bio by: Amy Bolinder gedmatch#A862271


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 12 Oct 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6605
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for J. Willard Marriott (17 Sep 1900–13 Aug 1985), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6605, citing Parklawn Memorial Park and Menorah Gardens, Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .