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Former Hershey Chairman, CEO Richard A. Zimmerman Dead at 82

July 2, 2014
by Candy & Snack TODAY

Hershey, PA — Richard A. Zimmerman, who as its chairman and CEO led The Hershey Co. into the international market and established it as an innovative, market-leading enterprise, died at his home June 29.

Funeral services will be at 11:00 am on Thursday, July 3, at the First United Methodist Church in Hershey. Visitation hours at the Hoover Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Wednesday, July 2, and 9:00 to 10:30 am on Thursday.

Zimmerman joined Hershey in 1958 as an administrative assistant to then-CEO Sam Hinkle, and during the next 35 years served as vice-president, president and chief operating officer, president and CEO, and chairman. He retired in 1994 at age 60. His legacy to the company includes forging partnerships with Asian markets, establishing Hershey Chocolate Mexico, opening the West Hershey Plant in 1992, expansion of traditional and nontraditional brands, line extensions and doubling annual sales to $3.2 billion.

Born in Lebanon, PA, in 1932, he earned his B.A. in commerce from Pennsylvania State University in 1953.  Zimmerman joined the U.S. Navy and served as Lieutenant aboard the U.S.S. Pocono.

Returning to civilian status in 1956, he became assistant director at the Harrisburg National Bank (now Mellon Bank), and two years later joined Hershey Foods Corp.

Zimmerman was a director and trustee of the Hershey Trust Co., Mead/Westvaco Corp. and Eastman Kodak Co., and served on the board of trustees of The Pennsylvania State University and the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH. In addition, he was a member of the board of managers of the Milton Hershey School as well as serving on the boards of Dr Pepper Co., Lance, Inc., The Business Roundtable, Grocery Manufacturers of America, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Pennsylvania Economic Development Partnership, the Harrisburg Area YMCA, the board of governors of United Way of America, the Harrisburg Symphony, and many other professional, charitable and civic organizations.

He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Lebanon Valley College and the Penn State University Distinguished Alumni Award, the National Conference of Christians and Jews Brotherhood Award and the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the United Way of the Capital Area.

Zimmerman is survived by his wife of 61 years, Nancy, daughters Linda Billmyer and Jan Tulli, brothers Edward and Peter, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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