Robert J. Carbonell | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 91 Issue 43 | p. 40 | Obituaries
Issue Date: October 28, 2013

Robert J. Carbonell

Department: ACS News
Keywords: obituaries

Robert J. Carbonell, 86, a retired food industry executive, died on April 26 in Miami of complications from pneumonia.

Born in San Salvador, El Salvador, Carbonell received a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1952 from the University of El Salvador. He studied food biochemistry from 1949 until 1950 at Purdue University under a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Early in his career, he conducted research at Standard Brands, which later became RJR Nabisco. He was awarded patents for his work on instant pudding and a process for concentrating coffee and tea.

Rising through the ranks, he became vice chairman of RJR Nabisco in 1985 and, subsequently, chief executive officer of Del Monte in 1988.

As chair of the American Trade Consortium, Carbonell traveled to Moscow with other corporate leaders to work on opening the markets of the former Soviet Union to American products.

After retiring from Del Monte, Carbonell became president and CEO of Bionaire in 1992 and president and CEO of Tetley USA in 1995. He retired in 2000.

In 2001, he received the Outstanding Food Scientist Award from Purdue’s College of Agriculture. Carbonell was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1951.

An avid photographer, he delighted in producing holiday and birthday cards. Known for his keen sense of humor and generosity of spirit, Carbonell enjoyed gathering with his large extended family during vacations in Florida and New England.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 63 years, Evelyn; sons, Armando, Robert Jr., and John; daughters, Margaret Smith and Juliet Marcus; 16 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.


Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.

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