Rest in Peeps: 'Father of Peeps' Bob Born dies age 98 trends now
Ira 'Bob' Born, a candy company executive known as the 'Father of Peeps' for mechanizing the process to make marshmallow chicks, has died at 98.
Just Born Quality Confections, the 100-year-old family-owned company Born led for much of his life, said on Monday that he had died peacefully at home in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, January 29.
'Bob will be remembered as a tireless and passionate advocate for the candy industry and a wonderful supporter of our community,' David Shaffer, Board Chair and Co-CEO of Just Born said in a statement. 'Bob was our second-generation family member whose dedication was instrumental in Just Born reaching our 100-year milestone. We extend our deepest sympathy to his son, Ross, and the entire family.'
Born began his life in New York City on September 29, 1924. His father, Sam Born, was a Russian immigrant who had trained as a confectioner in France and started Just Born shortly before his son's birth. His father developed a process for connecting lollipop sticks to the candy and even developed a chocolate that hardened quickly around ice cream.
During the Great Depression, the business was prosperous, and the family later moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where Just Born is still based, in 1932.
Ira 'Bob' Born died in his home in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, on Sunday
He was known as the 'Father of Peeps' for creating the machinery to automate the marshmallow process
Bob Born graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in engineering physics. He enlisted in the US Navy and served as a radar specialist and a lieutenant on a destroyer in the Pacific. Later, the Navy sent him to the University of Arizona and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for graduate work in math and physics.
Born applied to medical school and was accepted, but while he was waiting for his classes to begin, he went to work at Just Born. He fell in love with the candy business and decided to stay.
'The candy business was kind of catchy ... it was interesting to him,' Ross Born, Bob Born's son, told the Lehigh Valley News. 'He enjoyed the science, the technology, the processing. He was very much into the equipment.'
In 1953, Just Born acquired Rodda Candy Co., a jellybean maker that had a side business producing shaped marshmallow candies by hand. At the time, it took about 27 hours to