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Alice Sheets Marriott

Co-founder and Vice President of Marriott Corporation

Alice Sheets MarriottIn 1927, Alice Sheets Marriott and her husband J. Willard Marriott opened a nine-stool root-beer stand, which was the start of the Marriott Corporation. The Marriott Corporation today is one of the leading hospitality companies in the world, thanks in part to Alice.

Marriott was born on October 19, 1907, in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the age of 19 she received her bachelor of arts in Spanish from the University of Utah. Two days after graduation, she married J. Willard Marriott and they moved to Washington, D.C., where her husband opened the A&W Root Beer Stand. She was the bookkeeper for the business. With root-beer sales slowing down as fall approached, Alice Marriott came away from the Mexican embassy with recipes for chili con carne and hot tamales. These items were added to the menu and the root beer stand became The Hot Shoppe, a popular family restaurant.

Marriott eventually became vice president of the Marriott Corporation, now Marriott International, and played an extremely active role in the company. She was considered the pace-setting matriarch of the Marriott holdings. In a time where wives were usually in the background, Marriott was a full and active partner in the development of what the Marriott Corporation has become today.

Besides her involvement in the company, Marriott was devoted to raising her two sons, and was active in many civic and charitable organizations. She was a trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as a member of the Goodwill Industries Guild, International Neighbors Club and the honorary board of the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse.

On April 17, 2000, Alice Sheets Marriott died at the age of 92. The company that her and her husband founded personified the American Dream.