William E. Deardon

Class of 1985

Bill Deardon was born in September, 1922, in Philadelphia, PA. A 1940 graduate of the Milton Hershey School, Bill received a B.S. in Economics from Albright College in 1944, the same year he married Mary.

During World War II, Bill served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Supply Corp, serving aboard the USS Kankakee as supply and disbursing officer. During his service years he also completed coursework at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.

Bill’s professional career began in 1946 when he joined Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. as a sales representative in Reading, PA, soon rising to manager of the company’s Trenton office. He again answered his country’s call in 1951, serving as an Administrative Services Officer during the Korean Conflict.

Bill returned to his high school alma mater in 1953, where he became assistant business manager of the Milton Hershey School. During this time he also attended graduate school at Temple University. In1957, he was appointed assistant to the chairman of the board at Hershey Foods. Over the course of the next 15 years, he advanced through increasingly responsible senior sales and marketing positions and in March, 1976 was appointed Vice-Chairman and CEO of Hershey Foods Corp. Bill became Chairman of the Board of the company on January 1, 1984, a position he held until his retirement in 1985.

Bill’s extensive awards and recognition by the organizations, schools and the industry he served throughout his distinguished career include the Milton Hershey School’s Alumnus of the Year award in 1964; the 1971 Giant of the Industry award from the California Assoc. of Tobacco and Candy Distributors, honorary doctorates from Albright College, American International College and Colgate University, the 1976 Horatio Alger Award and many others. In honor of his exceptional contributions, Bill was inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame in 1985.