It’s highly unusual for a company to name an 83-year old as CEO, even one who has served as president since 1962. But, Tootsie Roll’s board of directors announced that Ellen Gordon would take the place of her CEO husband Melvin, who died this week at age 95.

Melvin and Ellen, who were married for 65 years, ran the Chicago candy maker together for decades after he became a director of her family’s publicly traded company in 1952.slinky rainbow-CC-Tim Ebbs

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“Melvin’s life represented the very highest values in business, wisdom, generosity, and integrity,” Ms. Gordon said in a statement. “Tootsie Roll has seen great growth and success during his time as chairman.

The Chicago company’s founder, Leo Hirschfield, started a candy shop in 1896 and, according to Food Business News, named the half-caramel-half-chocolate penny candy after his five-year old daughter Clara, nicknamed “Tootsie.”

(READ more at WXII-TV12)

Photo credit: Brave Heart via CC on flickr / Story tip from Kelly Harrington

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