Ferrara Pan Dies Atomic Fireballs Candy

February 7, 2012 by staff 

Ferrara Pan Dies Atomic Fireballs Candy, Nello Ferrara, chairman of Chicago candymaker Ferrara Pan Candy Co. and inventor of Atomic FireBalls and Lemonheads, has died.  Mr. Ferrara passed away at his River Forest home at age 93, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The candy company that carries his family name was begun in 1908 in Chicago by Mr. Ferrara’s father, according to the company website. But it was Mr. Ferrara himself who took the firm from its original product, sugar-coated almonds popular at weddings, to the spicy and sour treats for which the now Forest Park-based company became famous.

Mr. Ferrara dreamed up Atomic FireBalls in the 1950s after his military service in Occupied Japan in the post-atom bomb era, his son, company CEO Salvatore Ferrara II, told the Sun-Times.

And those Lemonheads? Mr. Ferrara joked that the inspiration came from the shape of his newborn son’s head.

The funeral for Mr. Ferrara is at 12:30 p.m. today at Holy Family Catholic Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt Road.

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