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Robert George Whitehead (October 31, 1916February 22, 2007) was a Texasmarker businessman who created Quaker House Products, Inc., which produced and marketed the first-aid ointment known as "Blue Star Ointment"; some 50 million jars are sold annually in the United Statesmarker. Robert Whitehead was a marketing maverick who used an innovative memorable 10-second television commercial to sell Blue Star Ointment. These shorter ads cost less than a traditional 30-second commercial to both produce and air. Whitehead packed all the information into a shorter time frame, to attract customers and to generate a community buzz, all within the old marketing format of an auctioneer.

Whitehead was born in Fort Morganmarker, in northeastern Coloradomarker. His mother's family traces their roots to the pre-Revolutionary War period. Robert Whitehead's daughters are still both affiliated with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Whitehead's father, Dan, was a third-generation cattle broker and an auctioneer. Robert said that much of his early business success came from his father's direction. In 1882, Dan Whitehead's family established the town of Oaklandmarker in Pottawattamie County in western Iowamarker.

Whitehead began his sales career with the Gail Borden Company in New York City; he moved to Corpus Christimarker an accepted a Sales Director position with Amalie Oil. Later he founded Quaker Products from his home in Houstonmarker and obtained the rights to distribute Blue Star Ointment, which became his firm’s primary product; they also offered a cleaner for steam irons. He often remarked that Blue Star Ointment successfully treated his painful psoriasis; which he suffered with since his teenage years. The product also offers relief from various types of itching from eczema to insect bites, ringworm, jock itch, and athlete's foot.

Blue Star's original formula was created by Germanmarker immigrant Adolf Gottlieb a studied apothecary, and pharmacist in the 1920s to the farming community of in Grimes Countymarker southeastern town Plantersville, Texas. Gottlieb sold his Blue Star formula in the 1930s to traveling salesman Jim Bourland of Fort Worthmarker. When Bourland died, Robert Whitehead acquired the rights thereafter, and sales skyrocketed. Whitehead's older Henry Whitehead son and daughter Gail Whitehead assisted him in the family-owned and operated business.

Whitehead was largely self-educated; he developed a great interest and talent for literature and art. From 1955 to 1967, he was associated with the Great Book Council of Houston and led Great Books discussion clubs associated with Rice University. His art work has been displayed in Houston art galleries and museums and other commercial galleries throughout Texas. He loved working with watercolor, acrylic, and oil; developing a very unique abstract style.

Whitehead spent his later years in Laredomarker in south Texas, with his wife of 20 years, Leni Magali Whitehead. Whitehead died peacefully at home, he was survived by his 7 children, June Whitehead, Patricia Whitehead, Gail Whitehead, Danielle Whitehead, Henry Whitehead, and Kathryn Whitehead.


Whithead obituary, Laredo Morning Times, February 24, 2007

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