I'm crushed this morning. I just found out that the 'Father of Peeps' has died.
Ira "Bob" Born, the man who mechanized the process to make those delicious marshmallow chicks and bunnies has passed away at the age of 98.
Born led Just Born Quality Confections, the 100-year-old company that his father, a Russian immigrant, started shortly before he was born.
He was born in New York City, the family later moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where the company is based.
According to ABC News, Bob:
"Graduated Lehigh University with a degree in engineering physics, enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was a radar specialist and lieutenant on a destroyer in the Pacific. Later, the Navy sent him to the University of Arizona and MIT for graduate work in math and physics."
He applied to medical school and was accepted, but then he started work at the family company and fell in love with the candy business, so he stayed.
In the 50's the company bought another candy company, Rodda Candy Company, who made jelly beans and marshmallow candies. But the company had a problem, it took so long to make the marshmallow candies, 27 hours to be exact, that they wanted to find a faster way to do it.
Well, Bob and another engineer went to work trying to figure out how to make that process faster. They designed and built a machine to make them in under six minutes! Today the machines that make peeps, still based on their design, pump out 5.5 MILLION Peeps every single day, about 2 BILLION of them every year.
THAT'S A LOT OF PEEPS!
But wait, there's more!
Bob also came up with the recipe for another popular candy...Hot Tamales!
He was named president of the company in 1959 and held that title for more than 30 years until his retirement. After retirement, he lived in Florida enjoying his hobbies like photography and according to his family, he was very active until just a few months ago when he had a fall.
Bob is survived by his wife Patricia, his children Sara and Ross, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and billions of Peeps all over the world.
R. I. Peeps Bob. Thanks for the deliciousness