Mark Wetterau Sr., the 65-year-old chairman and chief executive officer at Irvine-based Golden State Foods, died at home Monday, May 8 due to ongoing health issues, the company said Thursday, May 11.

Wetterau, a top executive for the food distributor for 25 years, died peacefully, surrounded by his family, the company said.

Conrad Wetterau, Mark’s brother, business partner, and 25-year GSF board member, will serve as GSF’s chairman. Mike Waitukaitis, a 13-year company veteran, will continue to serve as vice chairman.

GSF is the largest food distributor serving McDonald’s. The company and its affiliates also produce and deliver food to Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell.

“Despite the significant loss of my dear brother, best friend, and long-time GSF leader, Mark, we will continue to build on the incredible momentum of this thriving organization to best serve our valued customers at the highest levels throughout the world,”  Conrad Wetterau said.

Waitukaitis called Mark Wetterau a “charismatic, energetic leader, who tirelessly inspired his fellow associates and teams to achieve more than they ever thought possible.”

The Wetterau family business in St. Louis dates to 1869. According to his obituary, Mark Wetterau served GSF as president, chief operating officer and chairman and previously as CEO of the Shop ‘n Save grocery chain.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Virginia “Ginny”, his three children, M. Stephen Jr., Elizabeth Bakman (Shaymus), and Olivia Luce (Bryn), his three grandchildren, Dean, Cole and Lily Bakman, his brother, T. Conrad (Marguerite) and his sister, Elizabeth W. Harbison (Keith).

A private family burial will be held May 27 in St. Louis. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the GSF Foundation and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

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