William ‘Bill’ Coors, brewing industry leader, dies at 102

GOLDEN, Colo. -- William "Bill" Coors, a former leader at Coors Brewing Company, passed away Saturday at the age of 102. Molson Coors announced the death in a press release. The company said Bill died peacefully at his home.

Bill was the grandson of Adolf Coors, who founded the brewery in 1873.

According to Molson Coors, Bill earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1938 and got his masters degree in chemical engineering in 1939.

Bill joined his family's business as an engineer after receiving his masters. Bill is credited with developing the recyclable aluminum can, which is now standard in the beer industry.

Bill is the former chairman of the board of Adolph Coors Company.

“Our company stands on the shoulders of giants like Bill Coors. His dedication, hard work and ingenuity, helped shape not only our company but the entire beer industry. We honor his memory by rededicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much – brewing the best tasting, highest quality beer to share with family and friends. Cheers to you Uncle Bill!" President and CEO of Molson Coors, Mark Hunter, said in the release.

Bill was involved in a number of charitable and civic projects in the Denver area and throughout Colorado. Molson Coors said Bill was on the board of trustees for the Boys and Girls Club of Denver Foundation, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the University of Denver. He held a number of positions at other organizations as well.

Molson Coors applauded Bill for his efforts in corporate wellness, as he started one of the first employee wellness centers in the U.S.

On Saturday afternoon, the Coors family sent the following statement to FOX31 and Channel 2:

”Today our father, grandfather and uncle passed away.  Bill was a consistent and steady mentor and leader of our family both professionally and personally. He shared with us his passion for brewing, his dedication to wellness and his commitment to sharing our family legacy with upcoming generations.  He was dedicated to our family, our family businesses and having a positive impact on our community.  We will miss Bill’s leadership, his stories, and his smile.”

Bill is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His third wife, Rita Bass, passed away in 2015.

Pete Coors, who ran unsuccessfully to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate in 2004, is Bill's nephew.

The family encouraged people to donate to the William K. Coors Memorial Fund hosted by the Denver Foundation in lieu of flowers or other sentiments.

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