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Friendly's Co-Founder, S. Prestley Blake, Dies At 106

BOSTON (CBS) - S. Prestley Blake, who co-founded Friendly's with his brother in Massachusetts and turned it into a lucrative national chain, passed away on Thursday. He was 106.

The company announced the news on social media Friday after his niece, Holly Thrasher Schroeder, first made the news public on Thursday.

"While Mr. Blake and his late brother and co-founder, Curtis, will forever be remembered for introducing us to Fribbles and the delicious ice cream we know and love, their spirit of honesty and friendliness is what truly define their legacy. We invite you to join us in honoring their memory," wrote the company.

We are saddened to hear of the passing of our legendary Friendly's co-founder, Prestley Blake. While Mr. Blake and his...

Posted by Friendly's on Friday, February 12, 2021

Blake was born in Jersey City, N.J. on November 26, 1914. He later attended Northfield Mount Herman School in Massachusetts before going to Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

He and his brother, Curtis L. Blake, founded Friendly's in 1935 during the Great Depression with a loan from their parents.

The first shop opened in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the second one came five years later in West Springfield. By 1951, there were 10 Friendly's operating in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut.

In 1979 the brothers sold the chain to Hershey Foods for $164 million. Curtis died in 2019 at the age of 102.

The S. Prestley Blake Law Center of Western New England University's School of Law is named after the Friendly's co-founder, as is the Blake Student Center at Northfield Mount Hermon School.

According to the New York Times, he died at his house in Stuart, Florida, and is survived by his wife, Helen Blake; a sister, Betsy Melvin; a daughter, Nancy Yanakakis; a son, Benson Blake; several stepchildren; 16 grandchildren and step-grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

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