SCHAUMBURG, IL — Willard W. Bickford, known as Bill and called “Mr. B” by his employees, died on Nov. 6 in Schaumburg, Ill. He was 94.

Mr. Bickford was born in Corning, Iowa, in 1927 and raised on his family's farm. He was the youngest of eight children. After a short career in the US Navy at the end of World War II, he moved to Chicago and began his career at Clyde's Delicious Donuts on April 1, 1948, working for the man who would become his father-in-law. After taking full ownership of Clyde's in 1963, he led the company to a period of growth and modernization for many decades.

Last year, Clyde’s celebrated its 100th anniversary. In 1920, German immigrant Herman Seekamp purchased a little Chicago bakery called Clyde’s Delicious Donuts. Today, the Addison, Ill.-based company is one of the nation’s leading donut producers.

The business is led by Mr. Bickford’s son, Kim Bickford, chief executive officer and third-generation owner. His grandson, Josh Bickford, serves as executive vice president, strategic initiatives, and is a fourth-generation family member.