Blommer Chocolate Co. announced that Joe Blommer, president and CEO, died Jan. 20 at his home in River Hill, Wis., from brain cancer. In a career spanning more than 35 years, Blommer helped lead the family-owned and run company through a period of sustained growth and change. Today, the Chicago-based chocolate producer is North America’s largest cocoa bean processor and ingredient chocolate products company with a reputation for outstanding customer service and quality. 

Blommer first joined the company, which was founded by his father and uncles, following graduation from Georgetown University in 1964. He left after several years to pursue an investment sales career at Smith Barney in Milwaukee, only to return in 1976.

Among his many accomplishments, Blommer was responsible for construction of the company’s East Greenville, Pa., plant in 1980. The first chocolate factory to be built in the United States in many years, the new facility was a significant and successful investment in bringing high-tech manufacturing closer to Blommer’s largest customers.

Along with his brother Henry Blommer, he helped the company navigate through a takeover attempt by Cargill Inc. in 1992 and a subsequent return to sole family control in 1995. Under his leadership, the company delivered an enviable record of sustained, profitable growth becoming one of the largest cocoa processors in the world.

“My dad was such a special man,” said Rick Blommer, Joe’s son. “He loved his job. He loved making chocolate. Everyone who knew him, both in our company and in our industry, held him in such high regard. He had an incredibly entrepreneurial mind. He could see his way through any problem we faced and always seemed to know the right thing to do. All of us at Blommer will miss him.” 

Joseph W. Blommer was born April 10, 1942 in Milwaukee, Wis. A 1960 graduate of Milwaukee Country Day School, he later attended Georgetown University, graduating with a degree economics in 1964. 

Best friend and loving husband for 20 years of Karen (nee Kraynick) Blommer. Proud father of Richard (Taffy), Peter, Anne, Michael and William Blommer. Cherished grandfather of Ally, Maggie and Katie. Dear brother of Henry (Judith) Blommer Jr., Peter (Sally) Blommer and of the late Ann Blommer Drake. Further survived by other relatives and many dear friends.