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- For Ben Franklin's grandfather, see Peter Folger (Nantucket settler)
Peter Folger (December 26, 1905 – August 27, 1980) was an American coffee heir, socialite, and member of the prominent United States Folger family. He was also the longtime chairman of the board and president of the Folgers Coffee Company. He was the grandson of founder J. A. Folger, and the father of Abigail Folger, who was murdered in 1969 at the age of 25.
Born and raised in California, Folger studied business and graduated from Yale University where he was an athlete on their football, track and field, and polo teams. Peter Folger later served in World War II as a Marine Major.
In 1963, after having helped to build the family firm into the third largest coffee wholesaler in the United States, Folger sold the company to Procter & Gamble for 1,650,000 shares of P&G common stock. However, he and the Folger family continued to operate Folgers as a P&G subsidiary.
He married twice, first to Ines Mejia, the daughter of the consul general for El Salvador and member of a prestigious California land grant family. They went on to have two children, Abigail, born in 1943 and Peter, Jr, born in 1945. Ines filed for divorce which was granted in 1952. They shared joint custody of their two children.
On June 30, 1960, Peter married his 24-year-old secretary Beverly Mater. They had one daughter together, Elizabeth, in January 1961. Peter and Beverly lived with their daughter at the Folger mansion located in Woodside, California until 1974 when they moved to a newly built home on Roberta Drive. The murder of his eldest daughter, Abigail, in 1969, was said to have lessened Peter's desire to continue living at the Woodside estate, where she grew up.
After Abigail died, Peter conducted his own investigation into her death and spent the rest of his life protecting her from being the subject of salacious gossip, threatening legal action against anyone who tried to use her name in damning articles or books about the Tate murders. As a result, very little information is available about her.
Folger died from prostate cancer at his home in Woodside, California, at the age of 74 on August 27, 1980, and was buried in the Folger family plot at Mountain View Cemetery, in Oakland, California. He was survived by his wife, Beverly (45 at the time of his death), who did not remarry.