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Robert Hulseman (1932 - 2016)

Joseph P. Kovach IV via AP

Robert Hulseman (1932 - 2016)

Robert Hulseman, the former CEO who created the iconic red Solo cup, died Dec. 21, 2016, at his home in Northfield, Illinois. He was 84.

Donnellan Family Funeral Services in suburban Chicago announced the death on its website.

Country music star Toby Keith immortalized the ruby-hued container in the 2011 song "Red Solo Cup," penned by songwriters Brett Warren, Brad Warren, Brett Beavers, and Jim Beavers.

On Thursday, reacting to the news of Hulseman's death, Keith tweeted, "Raise one for this good man today. RIP #RedSoloCup." The singer included a Twitter link to a news article about Hulseman as well as a YouTube link to Keith’s "Red Solo Cup" video.

In 1936, Hulseman's father, Leo, launched the Solo Cup Co., which made disposable paper and plastic tableware in Highland Park, Illinois. Robert Hulseman started working at the business when he was 18.

"Over the course of nearly 60 years," the funeral home's obituary said, "he worked in a variety of roles and oversaw the company’s growth into one of the largest foodservice packaging companies in the world, ultimately serving" as president and CEO before retiring.

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Hulseman created the 12-ounce red plastic cup during the 1970s. He also created the Traveler plastic lid.

In December 2009, Solo Cup Co. shuttered its longstanding Highland Park operation and moved to nearby Lake Forest, Illinois. In May 2012, Dart Container Corp. acquired the Solo Cup Co.

Hulseman's wife of nearly 60 years, Sheila, and a daughter, Jean Kloos, preceded him in death. Seven sons, two daughters, and several grandchildren survive him.

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