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Aaron Soffer Lapin; Founded Reddi-Wip Inc.

Aaron Soffer Lapin, the founder and first president of Reddi-Wip Inc. who pioneered the concept of aerosol packaging of whipped cream, has died. He was 85.

Lapin, nicknamed “Bunny,” died Monday in Los Angeles. He maintained homes here, in New York City and in Miami.

In December, Lapin earned an honorable mention as one of Time magazine’s Business Geniuses of the Century for his now-ubiquitous creation.

Lapin later set up and headed Clayton Corp. to manufacture valves for his whipped-cream enterprise. Although Reddi-Wip became a familiar brand name, the valve business provided more opportunities for expansion.

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Epicures may eschew Reddi-Wip and its imitators in favor of hand-whipped heavy cream and sugar for their strawberries, but Lapin personally maintained a lifelong pride in his invention. Food & Wine magazine reported in 1996 that he liked the aerosol whipped topping so much he even “dreamed of aerosol catsup and mustard.”

Lapin established Reddi-Wip in St. Louis in 1946, but eight years later moved the enterprise to Los Angeles when he created his valve company.

Clayton Corp. and its subsidiaries make industrial valves and closures and foamed plastic products such as insulation and cushioning materials. As chairman of the board, Lapin traveled frequently to Europe to conduct the company’s export transactions.

Born in St. Louis, Lapin was educated at the University of Missouri and attended Washington University Law School.

He is survived by his son, Byron, of St. Louis; daughter, Linda Levine, of Los Angeles; two brothers, Zeverly of Beverly Hills and Gene of St. Louis; and one granddaughter.

Services are scheduled today at 11 a.m. at Hillside Memorial Chapel, 6001 Centinela Ave., Culver City.

The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the Paget Foundation, 120 Wall St. #1602, New York, NY 10005.


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