Summarized by Kent Larsen
Alice Sheets Marriott Dies
Washington Post pgB05 19Apr00 P2
By Louie Estrada: Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Alice Sheets Marriott, 92, widow of restaurant and
hotel magnate J. Willard Marriott Sr., died Monday at Georgetown
University Hospital of complications after a stroke.
Sister Marriott played a substantial role in the development of what
later became th Marriott Corporation. After arriving in Washington,
D.C. with her husband in 1927, one of D.C.'s humid summers the couple
purchased the A&W Root Beer franchise for Washington D.C., Baltimore
and Richmond with $1,000 in savings and a $1,500 loan. Opening the
first franchise on the corner of 14th Street and Park Road NW, the
stand was a success during the summer, but saw sales drop as cool
weather approached. Sister Marriott, who was fluent in Spanish, made a
connection with the chef at the Mexican Embassy, and got recipes for
chili con carne and for hot tamales. After two days of practice in
their apartment, Sister Marriott added the items to the store's menu,
renaming the stand "Hot Shoppe."
The Marriott's chain of Hot Shoppes eventually grew to 100 restaurants
in 11 states before it lost business to stiff competition from fast
food restaurants like McDonalds. The last Hot Shoppe, in Marlow
Heights, Maryland, closed last December.
But the chain was the foundation of a string of ventures into the hotel
and resort industry, airline catering and other restaurants. In spite
of raising two sons, Sister Marriott stayed involved in the company's
business operations, going to national restaurant conventions with her
husband and selecting crystal and china for the businesses. When the
couple opened the first Marriott hotel, the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel in
Arlington, Mrs. Marriott stayed up most of the night helping to hang
pictures in each of the 365 guest rooms.
As a businesswoman, Sister Marriott's reputation was like that of her
husband, a stern taskmaster, hard worker and efficient manager. As a
result, the Marriott companies, including Marriott International Inc.,
run by her son, J.W. Marriott Jr., Host Marriott Corp., run by her
other son, Richard E. Marriott, Sodexho Marriott Services, Crestline
Capital Corp., and Host Marriott Services, all display her goals of
thrift, industry and cleanliness. The five companies have combined
sales of more than $20 billion.
As the Marriott's business developed, they became more involved in
political and cultural activities. Sister Marriott served two 10-year
terms on the board of trustees of the Kennedy Center, working on its
executive and finance committees. She was also a member of the National
Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Advisory Council and
served on the boardh of the Metropolitan Washington chapter of the
In politics, Sister Marriott was a member of the Republican National
Committee from 1959 to 1976, working as an executive committee member
and treasurer of the party's conventions in 1964, 1968 and 1972. She
was vice chairman of Richard Nixon's 1969 Inaugural Committee and
honorary chairman of the 1973 Inaugural Committee.
Her name is on the Alice Sheets Marriott Center for Dance at the
University of Utah and on the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott School
of Management at Brigham Young University, both of which were
established by endowments from the Marriotts. The family also
established the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities under
In addition to her active local role as a member of the LDS Church, she
was a member of the American Newspaper Women's Association, and the
prestigious Capitol Hill Club. She also had memberships at the
Washington Club and the 1925 F Street Club.
She is survived by her two sons, eight grandchildren and 23 great-
grandchildren. J.W. Marriott, Sr., her husband, died in 1985.