Bob Born, Creator of Peeps, Dies at 98

Bob Born, the man affectionately referred to as the "Father of Peeps," has passed away at the age of 98. For those not in the know, Peeps are the colorful marshmallow shaped in the form of a baby chick. The announcement of Born's death came from Just Born Quality Confections, the 100-year-old family-owned company Bob Born presided over. Born died peacefully on Sunday, January 29th with the announcement coming on Monday, January 30th. Peeps are the golden goose of the Just Born company, unquestionably its signature candy. Around two billion Peeps are produced a year, with the most popular time of year coming at Easter, though there are versions for other holidays such as the upcoming Valentine's Day and Halloween.

Born Sept. 29, 1924, the prolific Peeps creator lived in New York City and is the son of Sam Born, a Russian immigrant that founded Just Born Quality Confections. The family eventually moved to Bethlehem, PA, where the company can be found to this day. Bethlehem even went so far as to declare February 15th "Bob Born Day" back in 2019. Before Born went to work in the family business, he attended and graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in engineering physics. His next move was to the U.S. Navy, where he had the titles of radar specialist and lieutenant for a destroyer ship. He also attended the University of Arizona and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate work in math and physics while with the Navy.

His journey to Just Born came while he was waiting for medical school to start. Before classes could begin, Born fell in love with the family business and decided to stay with the company.

"The candy business was kind of catchy … it was interesting to him," Bob Born's son, Ross Born, told the Lehigh Valley News. "He enjoyed the science, the technology, the processing. He was very much into the equipment."

"He was a kind person, he was generous with his talents, sharing his abilities. He was very fair minded: he wanted to embrace differences rather than just tolerate them," Ross Born added. He is also the chief executive officer of Just Born, though he recently announced plans to retire.

Hot Tamales is another creation of Bob Born. Some other products sold by the company include Mike and Ike fruit chews and Goldenberg's Peanut Chews. Bob Born leaves behind his wife Patricia; children Sara and Ross; five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.