Nello Ferrara, who took over the American candy-making family business founded by his father, died on 3 February aged 93.
Ferrara was chairman of Chicago-based Ferrara Pan Candy Company, the business he first joined in the 1950s. This was following a degree in law and a four-year stint in the US army – he was a member of the Counterintelligence Corps from 1942 until 1946.
Ferrara is credited with developing Lemonheads after joining the family-run business – a hugely popular sweet in the US. He is known to have joked that he came up with the idea for Lemonheads after the birth of his son, claiming his head was shaped like a lemon.
His son, Salvatore Ferrara II, is currently chief executive and president of Ferrara Pan Candy Company.
Besides inventing Lemonheads, Ferrara also developed the Atomic Fireball – round, cinnamon-flavoured hard candies, with a bright red outer layer and white inner layers.
When he was 82 years old, Ferrara reportedly credited his energy to candy, saying: “I eat an Atomic Fireball everyday”.
Ferrara is survived by his wife Marilyn, sister Florence, his son Salvatore and two daughters, as well as eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
The group was founded by Ferrara’s father, Salvatore, in 1908 to sell candy-coated almonds, often thought to signify good luck at Italian weddings. Today, the American family business produces about one million pounds of candy everyday.