S. Prestley Blake

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S. Prestley Blake
Stewart Prestley Blake

(1914-11-26) November 26, 1914 (age 105)
NationalityUnited States
Years active1935–1979
Known forCo-founder of the Friendly Ice Cream Corporation

Stewart Prestley Blake (born November 26, 1914), known as S. Prestley Blake, is an American businessman. He is a co-founder of the Friendly Ice Cream Corporation (known more commonly as "Friendly's").


Blake was born in Jersey City in 1914 to Herbert Prestley Blake, and his wife, Ethel Stewart Blake. He attended Northfield Mount Hermon School and Trinity College, Hartford. He and his younger brother, Curtis L. Blake (1917–2019),[1][2][3][4] founded the Friendly's national restaurant chain during the Great Depression, in 1935. By the 1970s, the brothers began to fight over the direction of the business. The company was sold to Hershey Foods in 1979 for $164 million, and again for $375 million in 1988 to entrepreneur Donald Smith.[5][6] He was chairman of the company until 1979.

In 1980, Blake earned a PhD at Western New England College, and one in 1982 at Springfield College. He holds honorary PhD degrees from Bay Path College, Quinnipiac College, and Elms College.[7] In 2006 he was minority shareholder in Friendly's.[8] On May 1, 2011, Brigantine Media[9] published Blake's autobiography, A Friendly Life,[10] which describes the early years of Friendly Ice Cream Company as well as Blake's shareholder suit. Blake was married to Della Deming and had one daughter and one son with her. He later married Helen Davis in 1982[11] He turned 100 in November 2014.[12]


The S. Prestley Blake Law Center is the home of Western New England University's School of Law (he had donated $250,000 for it in 1979).[13] The Blake Student Center at Northfield Mount Hermon School is also named after him.[14] In 2006 he donated $2 million to Springfield College and had Wilbraham Hall renamed as Herbert P. Blake Hall in honor of his father.[15][16]


  1. ^ Jones, Tim (2017-04-14). "Co-Founder of Friendly's Ice Cream Celebrating 100th Birthday". NBC Boston. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
  2. ^ Jones, Tim (2017-04-14). "Co-Founder of Friendly's Ice Cream Celebrating 100th Birthday". NECN. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
  3. ^ Sy Becker (2017-04-13). "Friendly's co-founder Curtis Blake's 100th birthday celebrated". WWLP.com. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
  4. ^ Jim Kinney. "Friendly's co-founder Curtis Blake celebrates 100th birthday". Masslive.com. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
  5. ^ "Friendly's co-founder S. Prestley Blake nears 100th birthday; Springfield to celebrate". masslive.com.
  6. ^ "Friendly's and its founders are aging well". BostonGlobe.com.
  7. ^ Who's Who in America: 1996, Volume 3
  8. ^ "Unfriendly maneuvers". boston.com. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  9. ^ "Brigantine Media". brigantinemedia.com.
  10. ^ "A Friendly Life: The Autobiography of S. Prestley Blake". Afriendlylife.com. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
  11. ^ "Friendly's founder celebrating 100th birthday". WWLP.com.
  12. ^ MacQuarrie, Brian (2014-12-25). "A Jefferson follower's $7.5m declaration of admiration". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2015-05-13.
  13. ^ Fund Raiser's Guide to Private Fortunes. google.ca. 1987. ISBN 9780914756583. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "S. Prestley Blake '34". nmhschool.org. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  15. ^ "Untitled Document". springfieldcollege.edu.
  16. ^ "In Our Towns". tribunedigital-thecourant. October 17, 2006. Retrieved June 6, 2018.