'Father Of Peeps' Bob Born's Death Has The Food World Shaken

January 30, 2022 was a sad day for the food world because Ira "Bob" Born, the "Father of Peeps" passed away. Bob Born, best known for mechanizing the process of marshmallow Peeps and developing the recipe for Hot Tamales candies, according to NPR, was 98 years old. 

Bob's son, Ross Born, who recently announced his plans to retire from his role as the third-generation leader of Just Born Quality Confections, told Lehigh Valley News that his father was a "real mensch." Ross related that his father had been enjoying his retirement in Florida, where he chaired a literacy program, and continued to stay active until shortly before his death.

Bob's father, Sam Born, started Just Born Quality Confections in 1923, just a year before he was born. The company, based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is currently celebrating its 100th year in business, cranking out 5.5 million marshmallow Peeps every day on machinery based on Bob Born's original design (via NPR).

Bob Born was a passionate innovator

Ross Born told Lehigh Valley News that his father's legacy (in addition to the nine months he spent developing the equipment that transformed the way Peeps were made from a labor-intensive, 26-hour process into one that could be accomplished in less than six minutes) was promoting a company culture that saw mistakes as opportunities to learn, embraced individual differences, and encouraged people to achieve their full potential.

Born in 1924 in New York City, Bob Born earned his engineering physics degree from Lehigh University in just two-and-a-half years before joining the Navy and doing graduate work in both math and physics. Then the candy business hooked him. He spent almost 40 years working for Just Born, fascinated, according to his son, by the science and technology of candy manufacturing. 

One thing's for sure, the world is a sweeter place today because of one Bob Born.