Donald Tober, the Sugar Foods CEO who turned Sweet’N Low into a household name, has died in a reported suicide at the age of 89.
Law enforcement sources reportedly told the New York Post that Tober jumped from a window in his Park Avenue apartment around 5 a.m. Friday.
“He’s an icon”
According to Sweet’N Low’s website, the product’s name was based on creator Ben Eisenstadt’s favorite song, “Sweet and Low,” while its bright pink packet was picked to make it stand out among the rest.
It was Tober who was head of Sugar Foods when the sweetener brand propelled to commanding a staggering 80% of the sugar substitute market, according to the Post.
“He was bigger than life,” his business partner of 51 years, Steve Odell, said, according to Breitbart. “He made everybody feel special — everybody. He’s an icon, and he’ll always be.”
His death came as a shock, Odell said, according to the New York Post. “I talked to him yesterday and certainly, no. There was no indication whatsoever,” he told the paper.
Odell also described to the Post Tober’s role in the rise of Sweet’N Low:
Don’s had as much to do with building Sweet’N Low into a household name as anyone ever has with a product. Every packet of Sweet’N Low sold today can be traced back to a single sales call that he probably made or at least had a part in.
Leaving a legacy
Tober’s obituary describes him as a “beloved husband, admired philanthropist and successful business executive” who “chose to end his life today after facing the increasingly debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease.”
“He was a patron of associations that serve to elevate the quality and appreciation of food and wine, including of the Commanderie de Bordeaux and the Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Culinary Institute of America (where he was Trustee Emeritus),” the obituary adds.
The obituary also noted that Tober “was a founder and Honorary Board member of the Citymeals-on-Wheels program in New York City,” and said he “positively impacted a tremendous range of institutions beyond the food business.”
Tober is survived by his wife, Barbara, who he married in 1973.
“It was not the first marriage for either and proved an unusually happy enduring union for both,” the mogul’s obituary said.