James S. Herr, the founder of the company that makes Herr's potato chips and other snack foods, has died at the age of 87.
Herr had been fighting a respiratory illness and died on Thursday night at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Nottingham, where Herr Foods Inc. is based, said his son Ed Herr, the company's president.
"He died peacefully," Ed Herr said by telephone. "We are celebrating a glorious life and legacy of our dad."
James Herr was born in Lancaster, 30 miles northwest of Nottingham, and began his career with a $1,750 investment in a small local potato chip company, according to the Herr Foods website.
Under his guidance, Herr Foods steadily grew. By 1999, the sales volume had expanded to more than $100 million a year, and the payroll had about 1,100 employees who produced and marketed 240 varieties of pretzels, chips and other snacks in a nine-state region. Herr's potato chips include flavors such as Baby Back Ribs, Cheddar Sour Cream, Ketchup and Original Crisp 'N Tasty.
Herr married his wife, Miriam, in 1947, and the couple had just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, Ed Herr said.
Herr is survived by his wife, five children and 20 grandchildren. He will be buried in a private ceremony on Saturday, and a public memorial is being planned for several weeks from now.