James Marker

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James "Jim" Marker (c. 1922 – May 2, 2012) was an American-born Canadian businessman who invented Cheezies, a brand of cheese curl snack food popular in Canada.[1] Marker also established the Belleville Aerodrome, a private airport, in 1961.[1]

Marker was born in Dayton, Ohio.[1] Marker, who was originally a farmer, worked within the confectionery industry in Chicago, Illinois, for many years.[2] However, Marker invented a new machine used to process cornmeal.[1] The machine caught the attention of Marker's business partner, W.T. Hawkins.[1] Together, Marker and Hawkins moved to Canada and founded the W. T. Hawkin Company in 1949, which manufactures the Cheezies snack.[1] Marker and Hawkin originally started their new company in Tweed, Ontario, to take advantage of the areas railroads to ship their Cheezies.[2] A fire destroyed their original Tweed factory in 1956, and they relocated to their company's current location in Belleville, Ontario.[2]

They concentrated exclusively on Cheezies after dropping other snack foods from their portfolio.[1] Marker designed the machine used to create Cheezies, which shaped the snacks, cooked them in vegetable shortening, and coated the snacks with aged cheddar.[2] No two Cheezies pieces are exactly alike.[1] Marker's original machine is still used to manufacture Cheezies at the company's plant, as of 2012.[1] Marker remained Vice President of the W. T. Hawkin Company until his death in 2012.[1] He last visited the Cheezies factory for a surprise inspection in March 2012.[1]

Outside of the snack food industry, Marker established the Belleville Aerodrome in Ontario in 1961.[1] He frequently used the airport to fly his Apache plane.[1]

Marker died on May 2, 2012, at his home in Belleville, Ontario, at the age of 90.[1] The W. T. Hawkin's Cheezies factory closed for the remainder of the day upon news of Marker's death.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Ciarula Taylor, Lesley (May 3, 2012). "Cheezies inventor dies in Belleville, Ont., at 90". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Canadian inventor of Cheezies snacks dies". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. May 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-15.