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Miles Willard, at 80; invented Tato Skins, other snacks

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -- Miles Willard, a coinventor of dehydrated potato flakes who developed several popular snack foods, died Friday, his family said. He was 80.

Mr. Willard had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for several years.

He came to Idaho Falls in 1955 to work for Rogers Bros. Co., which was interested in the dehydrated potato flakes he had helped develop in a US Department of Agriculture laboratory.

He went on to start his own company.

In the company, he developed patents for snack foods from dehydrated potatoes, including Hula Hoops, which have been popular in Britain for decades, and O'Boisies and Tato Skins in the United States.

Mr. Willard was also a patron of the arts, contributing $1.2 million with his wife to Miles and Virginia Willard Arts Center.

He also ran Miles Willard Technologies, which continues to develop snack foods and employs about 20 people.

He served nine years on the Idaho Arts Commission. In 1996, he received the Governor's Award for Support of the Arts.

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