Iowa man, 99, has eaten Wheaties daily since 1943; now he’s on the cereal’s box

MARION, Iowa — Move over Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Mary Lou Retton. Clarence Frett has joined the club.

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Wheaties, which hit the shelves in 1921, is known as “The Breakfast of Champions.” Frett, 99, from Marion, Iowa, has been eating the cereal daily since he served in the Coast Guard in 1943, KCRG-TV reported.

Frett, who turns 100 on Jan. 24, 2022, joins sports heroes like Jordan, Woods and Retton on the box of the venerable breakfast cereal.

“I dump a bowl of Wheaties and put a little sugar in it and put a little milk in it,” Frett told KCRG. “That’s my breakfast I don’t eat much more than that.”

Clarence’s daughter, Renee Frett Campbell, sent an email to General Mills to see if she could get her dad’s face on a Wheaties box, the television station reported. The company came through.

The tradition of sports figures on Wheaties boxes began with Lou Gehrig in 1934.

“I was really surprised,” Frett told KCRG. “I’m going to have a lot of fun with it, that’s for sure.”

Like Gehrig, Frett might be considered the Iron Horse -- of barbers. He joined the Coast Guard on his 21st birthday and was recruited to cut hair.

“They asked for volunteers,” Frett told the Cedar Rapids Gazette in a 2010 interview. “They pointed at you. You were the barber.”

After his discharge from the Coast Guard in 1946, Frett finished barber college, the newspaper reported.

He opened Frett Barber Service in Marion in January 1949 and cut hair until he was 88. Frett Barber Services is now run by his daughters.

“Carrying on the tradition almost in Marion, an old-fashioned barbershop, what he started and what he worked hard for,” Campbell told KCRG. “It is quite an honor, it really is.”

Frett said he enjoyed his years as a barber and made many friends.

“Meeting all the people and talking to them,” Frett told the television station. “I really enjoyed being a barber.”

In addition to celebrating Wheaties’ milestone 100th anniversary and his own centenary next month, Frett celebrated his 75th wedding anniversary on Nov. 28. He married Frances Neuar in 1946.

He met his future bride on a blind date after he hitchhiked to Springfield, Missouri, to visit relatives, The Gazette reported.

The couple have two daughters, five sons, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, according to the newspaper.

Marriage -- and Wheaties -- have kept Frett spry.

“He’s very healthy and active,” Campbell told KCRG. “He is mentally sharp, so we will just keep him busy and eating Wheaties!”

Frett has certainly cut plenty of hair, but he cannot put a figure on it.

“I’ve had that question asked of me hundreds of times,” Frett told the Gazette in 2010. “I have no idea.”