Bay Area toy executive, heir to sugar fortune, dies

The Associated Press
Wednesday October 31, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — John Newton Rosenkrans, a San Francisco Bay area toy company executive and heir to the Spreckels sugar fortune, has died of heart failure. He was 73. 

Rosekrans died in Paris on Oct. 27. 

He was the great-grandson of Claus Spreckels, who founded a successful sugar company. Rosekrans himself went on to found Kransco Group Co. with longtime friend John Bowes in 1963. 

Kransco originally focused on making floating furniture for swimming pools, but by the 1990s had acquired several companies and branched out by selling Hula Hoops, Frisbees, Hackey Sacks and other toys.  

The men sold the company in 1994 to Mattel Inc. 

Rosekrans grandmother, Alma Spreckels, built the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco and donated it to the city. 

Like his grandmother, Rosekrans was a patron of the arts. He and his second wife, Dodie, built an outdoor sculpture farm, named Runnymede, at a family property in Woodside. Runnymede has 140 works of contemporary art. 

Rosekrans spent much of his time in San Francisco, but frequently lived at his homes in Paris and on the Grand Canal in Venice. 

He is survived by his wife, two sons, John Rosekrans, of Mill Valley, and Peter Rosekrans of Woodside; two stepsons, John Topham and Ned Topham of San Francisco; two brothers and four grandchildren.