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Bob Born, Who Brought Marshmallow Peeps to the Masses, Dies at 98

  • February 05, 2023

The company was unprepared for the candy’s subsequent elevation into the pop-culture pantheon. But it quickly embraced its good fortune, sponsoring diorama and recipe contests and even fitting out a pair of old school buses with giant fiberglass Peeps to tour the country.

By the 1990s Mr. Born had retired and moved away. But he returned to the company’s headquarters in Bethlehem, Pa., from time to time to join in the city’s many Peep-centered celebrations, including Peepsfest, which culminates with the dropping of a giant Peep on New Year’s Eve. In 2019 the city declared Feb. 15 “Bob Born Day.”

“He just shook his head,” Ross Born said of his father’s reaction to his candy’s fame. “He was rather incredulous.”

Ira Brahm Born was born on Sept. 29, 1924, in Brooklyn. His father, Sam Born, was a Russian native who had trained as a confectioner in France and founded Just Born a few years after immigrating to the United States. His mother, Ann (Shaffer) Born, was a homemaker.

Sam Born was an innovator, much as his son would be. He developed a process for connecting lollipop sticks to their hard-candy tops, and he invented a chocolate that hardened quickly around ice cream, and remained stable, making future delicacies like Klondike bars possible.

Even during the Great Depression, Just Born prospered, so much that in 1932 Sam and his brothers, who had joined him, bought a large factory in Bethlehem and moved the company there from Brooklyn.

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