The man, the myth, the legendary inventor of everyone’s favorite fruit-filled breakfast ravioli has died.

A long-time staple for children and 20-somethings, during the height of the Global War on Terror Pop-Tarts were a coveted treasure. Whether they were traded as valued currency alongside MRE contents or buried under a pile of white socks at the bottom of a care package, for those downrange, they offered a taste of home.

The bringer of that joy, Pop-Tart creator William “Bill” Post, died on Feb. 10 at age 96.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan, native deployed with the U.S. military in the Pacific post-World War II before returning home. There, he resumed his high school job at Hekman Biscuits.

“After serving in the Army Air Corps in occupied Japan, he returned to the part time job at Hekman and also attended Calvin College for 2 years,” according to Post’s obituary.

That biscuit plant would later become what is known today as Keebler. It was there that Post cemented his name in the annals of pastry history. While working as plant manager in the 1960s, Kellogg reached out to him about a collaboration.

“In 1964 I answered the telephone and Kellogg asked if they could come see some of our equipment,” Post told WWMT in 2021. “I said, ‘yeah.’ They came and looked at our plant. ... They said they wanted something for the toaster, but they didn’t know how to do it.”

Post set to work figuring out exactly how to make a breakfast food that could easily be cooked in a toaster.

“I assembled an amazing team that developed Kellogg’s concept of a shelf-stable toaster pastry into a fine product that we could bring to market in the span of just four months,” he said.

The result was two dough sheets with filling in the middle. The finishing touch — frosting — wasn’t part of original the plan, but Post’s improvisational decision to glaze the pastry turned out to be a hit.

Post, while testing out the experimental pastries, would bring them home to his children. While he said most of the products were duds in their eyes, the Pop-Tarts were a hit with his family as an after-school treat.

His obituary notes that despite being credited as the inventor of Pop-Tarts, Post always viewed it as a team effort.

At the time, rival Post Consumer Brands was working on a competitor: Country Squares. However, Pop-Tarts made it to market first.

“That’s a funny story. I always say I’m the only Post who worked for Kellogg,” Post joked with WWMT.

Delish reported that a book called “American Food by the Decades” notes that the original the name for these delectable treats was “Fruit Scones,” but the moniker was changed after Andy Warhol and his 1960s pop art inspired the branding.

The original Pop-Tarts, which went to market in November of 1964, came in apple currant, blueberry, cinnamon sugar, and Post’s favorite: strawberry.

Post worked for 41 years at Keebler before moving on as a consultant to Kellogg. He married his high school sweetheart, and they were together for 72 years. The couple retired in Grand Rapids.

“In spite of an extraordinary life and legendary accomplishments, Bill remained a humble man of God with a servant’s heart that seemed to overflow with generosity,” his obituary reads.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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