Bob Born, the "Father of Peeps," Has Died at 98 — What Was His Cause of Death?


Feb. 1 2023, Published 10:46 a.m. ET

If you've ever seen the chick-shaped marshmallows known as Peeps in the aisles of the grocery stores or even enjoyed them in your own home, you might be familiar with Ira "Bob" Born. Known as the "Father of Peeps" for his role guiding Just Born Quality Confections, the company that makes Peeps, the legendary confectionary executive has died at 98.

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What was Bob Born's cause of death? Here's everything we know about the second generation businessman and his role shaping Peeps to the iconic yellow marshmallows they are today.

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What was Bob Born's cause of death?

According to a statement by Pennsylvania-based company Just Born Quality Confections, Bob died peacefully on Jan. 29, 2023. The company said, "Bob devoted his life to Just Born and the science and process of candy making. He was an inventor whose amazing intellect allowed him to see solutions to almost any situation," per Confectionary News.

The statement added, "Most notable was his ability to see how PEEPS, which were made by hand, could be produced in a mechanical manner. Bob designed the machine that deposits the PEEPS Marshmallow Chicks — and his machine was in use for well over 50 years. Bob's design became the basis for the current marshmallow depositing systems. Bob also invented HOT TAMALES by finding a creative way to rework MIKE AND IKE candies."

Bob's cause of death was not made public knowledge.

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Bob Born's family created Just Born Quality Confections, which created Peeps Marshmallow Chicks.

Bob was not the first candy confectionary executive in his family. According to ABC News, Bob's father, Sam Born, was a Russian immigrant who founded Just Born shortly before Bob's birth. The family moved from New York City to Bethlehem, Penn., where the company is still based to this day.

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After graduating from Lehigh University with a degree in engineering physics, Bob entered the U.S. Navy, where he served as a radar specialist and lieutenant. He was later sent by the Navy to both the University of Arizona and M.I.T. to pursue graduate work in math and physics. However, awaiting news of a medical school application, Bob went to work at Just Born and decided to stay.

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In 1953, the company acquired Rodda Candy Co., a jelly bean maker that could craft marshmallow candies by hand, which took a reported 27 hours, per ABC News. It was thanks Bob's ingenuity that he and a fellow engineer at the company created a similar machine to manufacture Peeps in six minutes!

Bob became Just Born's president in 1959 and held the title for more than 30 years, according to NBC New York. When he retired, his son, Ross Born, took over as CEO. Ross recently retired, and the current co-CEOs are David Shaffer and Gardner “Chip” Jett.

Bob is survived by his widow, Patricia; his children, Sara and Ross; five grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. NBC New York indicates his funeral will be private.

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