Bob Reinhart, Inventor of Captain Crunch, Dies at Age 84

Robert Reinhart Robert Rountree Reinhart was born July 30, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois and started working at Quaker Oats at the age of 17  to escape the great depression. After returning from World War II he went back work maintaining Quaker equipment.

But his blue collar was not to last. The guys in the white lab coats were puzzled over how to fix a machine for making puffed rice. Bob overheard them talking about their frustrations with the machine and decided to take a look.

Bob, a man with no college education, drew up some drawings on how to fix the rice puffing machine. The researchers tried his solution. It worked. Bob got promoted. Around that time he married his high school sweetheart, Ruth Duncan.

Captain Crunch

Robert worked at Quaker till 1983, during which he was awarded roughly two dozen patents. He the team that developed Captain Crunch. He received the 1965 Fredus N. Peters Award from the Quaker Oats Company for his work on the Captain Crunch Machine and Recipe.

He was always fiddling. His children grew up eating cereal out of plain white boxes labeled A, B and C. Before school they had to suffer an interrogation as to which cereal they liked best and why. "They all taste the same" and "I like them all" were not acceptable answers.

1965 Fredus N. Peters Award
Original Captain Crunch Doll & 1965 Fredus N. Peters Award

Captain Crunch was one of the first cereals to use oil in the recipe. Take a piece and squeeze it between your fingers to see for yourself. The oil delivers the flavor to your tongue making Captain Crunch one of the best tasting and best selling cereals. It also caused problems early on getting the cereal to bake correctly. Captain Crunch was optimized for taste, not health.

Captain Crunch was also known in the early days for including a small toy in every box. I remember loving getting the toys as a kid.

Bob the inventor of captain crunch and contributor to Life Cereal invented a third cereal. He called it Tippy Canoes and the cereal pieces were shaped like canoes that would float along the surface of the milk.  He and the others who tried the test versions considered it his best cereal but the Quaker Oats executives did not agree.  Or at least not enough to risk a million dollar product launch.

Bob Reinhart & family

A long time resident of Des Plaines, Bob was a member of the 1st Congregational Church of Des Plaines. He is survived by two sisters, Lorraine Schmitz of Concord, California, and Marion Meyer of Buffalo, Michigan.

He is also survived by his three children:

  1. Robert Rountree Reinhart Jr. and his wife Beth, of Roseville, Minnesota
  2. Gregory Duncan Reinhart and his wife Ruth, of College Station, Texas
  3. Virginia Ruth (Ginger) Umstattd and her husband Tom, of Austin, Texas

Bob is survived by ten grandchildren:

  1. Andrea Reinhart Marston
  2. Jessica Reinhart Lind
  3. Rebecca Reinhart
  4. Katherine Reinhart
  5. Timothy Reinhart
  6. Thomas Umstattd, Jr.
  7. Cynthia Umstattd
  8. David Umstattd
  9. William Umstattd
  10. John Umstattd

Bob Reinhart was my grandfather and I will miss him. My pantry is full of Life Cerial that I eat it in his honor. I apologize for my lack of posts these last couple weeks. During the chaos of the last two weeks I let this blog slip.

Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the author of Courtship in Crisis, the former head of, and co-founder of the Austin Rhetoric Club, a homeschool speech and debate club in Austin, Texas. He is a professional speaker and CEO of Author Media. He sits on the board of directors for several nonprofits, including the Texas Alliance for Life.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

11 thoughts on “Bob Reinhart, Inventor of Captain Crunch, Dies at Age 84

  1. I'm sorry about the loss of your grandfather. I loved reading about what a special guy he was. I will buy a box of Captain Crunch today in his honor and think about Bob Reinhart and the fun he brought to the breakfast table, via his invention, when I was kid.

  2. I too and sorry about the loss of your grandfather but am delighted that someone so deserving was the recipient of an award named after my grandfather. Hang in there. There are better days ahead.

  3. I'm so sorry about your loss. May God be glorified through it all. 🙂

    Wow!! I didn't know your Grandpa invented cereals! We're going to take Pam's idea and go get some Captain Crunch and milk to eat in his honor. God Bless!!

  4. I am continuing to pray for you all… This has been a hard year for all of you… May the Lord's comfort be very, very real!

  5. Thomas,

    Now I know how you got to be such a fine young man. You have a wonderful family. I’m sorry you lost your grandpa. My parents are his age, and it is difficult to watch our loved ones pass. But we know the rest of the story!

    I loved Cap’n Crunch cereal so much that the roof of my mouth hurt from all the crunchies scraping against it. What other cereal was memorialized in a Veggie Tales Song?

    Blessings to you and your family.

  6. Thanks to my Uncle Rob for clarifying some factual inaccuracies in my post. According to him my Grandfather never worked on Life Cereal (I always thought he had) and he was not a janitor but a machinist in the maintenance department.

    Thank you everyone for your kind words.

  7. I have a very different feeling now with my father-in-law is no longer here. Can’t explain it, really. My wife Ginger is finally able to do some grieving the last few days. I am really glad that God did not take me last summer when I had a heart attack so I can be here for her during this difficult time.

  8. Tom,

    I am so sorry that your grandfather passed away. My grandfather, who was Fredus N. Peters’ brother, just passed away at the age of 109 last month. I am putting together something for the family and was wondering if there was a picture of the Fredus N. Peters award that I could use with your permission.
    Thank you and may God bless you richly!

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