BOSTON (WWLP) – Michael Kittredge, II, a businessman and philanthropist who founded the Yankee Candle Company, has died at the age of 67.
The news was announced Thursday morning in a statement to local media on behalf of the Kittredge family. Kittredge, who lived in Leverett, died on Wednesday evening, surrounded by family members and friends at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, following a brief illness.
Kittredge founded Yankee Candle from his family’s South Hadley home back in 1969. He grew the business from that small operation to a major international manufacturer and retailer of candles and other products.
He took a break from the business world after retiring from Yankee Candle, but later went back into business, helping found the Kringle Candle Company and the Farm Table Restaurant in 2010 with his son, Michael Kittredge, III.
In addition to his business accomplishments, Kittredge was a noted musician, who was part of the regionally-known band “The Bristol Curries” during his teenage years. He continued to play music throughout his life.
Locally, he was known for his philanthropic work, having helped create the Kittredge Surgical Center at Cooley-Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. His name also graces the Kittredge Center at Holyoke Community College and the Kittredge Building at the Bement School in Deerfield.
Kittredge was a two-time cancer survivor, who served on the board of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He also suffered a stroke in 2012.
Kittredge is survived by one son and two daughters. No public calling hours or funeral services have been planned at this time.