Stater Bros.’ Jack Brown dies at 78

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Longtime Stater Bros. chairman, president and chief executive officer Jack Brown died on November 13. He was 78.

Jack Brown

Jack Brown

Brown kicked off a 65 year career in the grocery industry at age 13, when he took a job as a box boy at Berk’s Market Spot, which was located in his home town of San Bernadino, Calif. After serving with the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, and then holding a number of management positions in the supermarket industry, Brown joined Stater Bros. in 1981.  He served as the company’s president and chief executive officer for more than 35 years, and as its chairman for more than 30. Brown became executive chairman earlier this year after appointing Pete Van Helden to the position of president and CEO.

“Grief is not a strong enough word to describe what the Stater Bros. family feels,” Van Helden said in a statement.  “Jack touched every one of us in a very personal way, and it is that legacy that we must carry forward.  He loved the business, his company and each one of us.”

Brown has received numerous awards for his contributions to the supermarket industry, including the California Grocers Association’s Hall of Achievement Award in 2001, and the Food Marketing Institute’s Sidney R. Rabb Award in 2005.

In 2008, Brown established Stater Bros. Charities, the philanthropic arm of Stater Bros. Markets, as a way to give back to the community in a larger way. Brown was a founder of the Boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino, and the founding chairman of Children’s Fund of San Bernardino County. He also supported veteran’s groups and the military, and in 2004 he received the Friend of the Veteran Award from the Riverside National Cemetery’s Veterans’ Advisory Committee for his continued support of volunteer services to veterans and their families. In 2011 he received the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Patriot Award.

Brown received the Horatio Alger Award in 1992. More recently, in July of this year, he was honored by the California State University Board of Trustees, which named the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration at California State University San Bernardino.




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