Rolf C. Hagen, founder and chairman of Rolf C. Hagen Inc., passed away Oct. 22 at his home in Montreal surrounded by his wife Marianne and grandson Justin, according to the company. He was 79.
Born in a small seaside town in northern Germany, Hagen came to Canada in 1955 and started what would become Rolf C. Hagen Inc., one of the world’s largest family-owned manufacturers and distributors of pet care products.
Hagen started the company by acquiring bird seeds from the Canadian prairies and exporting them to Germany. Hagen’s brothers joined the business and the small export company slowly flourished, becoming the well-respected pet supplies business that today spans many continents.
Hagen was a tireless force who was actively involved as chairman of Rolf C. Hagen Inc. until the day before his sudden death. The company is managed by Rolf C. Hagen’s three sons, Mark, Tom, and Rolf Jr.
Hagen was honored with many awards in the pet products industry throughout his life. In 1999, he was inducted into the American Pet Products Association Hall of Fame. In 2004, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pet Industry Distributors Association in recognition for innovative design of pet products and for his support of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the lives of pets and people. Hagen is the only person in the pet products industry who is a recipient of both awards.