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George A. Hormel

AKA George Albert Hormel

Born: 4-Dec-1860
Birthplace: Buffalo, NY
Died: 5-Jun-1946
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, MN

Gender: Male
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Hormel Foods Corporation

His mother came from a family that had long worked in slaughterhouses, and George Hormel found his first work in his uncle's butcher shop when he was 15. He later worked as a wool merchant, then settled in Minnesota, where he opened a butcher shop in 1887, with a business partner, Albrect Friedrich. The business was successful, but Hormel wanted to expand and Friedrich did not, so Hormel sold his half of the business and started his own Hormel Provision Market in 1891. The next year he bought a bankrupt creamery and expanded his meatpacking business, still doing virtually all the work himself, turning hogs into bacon, ham, and sausage. In 1895 he introduced Hormel's sugar-cured pig back bacon (now commonly called "Canadian bacon" in America, though it is actually a traditional staple of British and Irish breakfasts). The business was incorporated as George A. Hormel & Company in 1901.

By the early 1900s the company had distribution centers in Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta, but Hormel was just one of many major meatpackers until 1926, when it introduced the first canned ham. Hormel offered shorter hours and higher pay than his competitors, in the belief that more contented employees produced a better product. His company was also the first to install gas chambers for humane animal slaughters, using carbon-dioxide clouds instead of the more traditional slaughterhouse methods such as throat-slashing and immersion in scalding water.

His son, Jay Catherwood Hormel, took over the company when Hormel retired, and oversaw the introduction of Spam pork shoulder luncheon loaf in 1937. Hormel's grandson, James C. Hormel, served as America's first openly bisexual ambassador. Another of Hormel's grandchildren, Geordie Hormel, married actress Leslie Caron and wrote uncredited background music for TV's The Fugitive and Ozzie & Harriet. His great-grandson, Smokey Hormel, is a noted guitarist who has toured with David Byrne and Enrique Iglesias.

Father: John George Hormel (leather tanner, b. 1830, d. 1896)
Mother: Susannah Decker Hormel ("Susan", b. 1836, d. 1910)
Brother: John Hormel (Hormel executive)
Brother: Herman Hormel (Hormel executive)
Brother: Benjamin Hormel (Hormel executive)
Sister: Elizabeth Hormel
Wife: Lillian Belle Gleason Hormel (b. 1867, m. 24-Feb-1892, d. 1946, one son)
Son: Jay Catherwood Hormel (Hormel President, b. 1892, d. 1954)

    Hormel Founder & President (1891-1929)
    Hormel Chairman of the Board (1929-46)
    German Ancestry

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