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Edward Dee (1924 – 2019), founder of Smarties Candy Company

Instagram / Smarties Candy Company

He started making the sweet candies in his garage after immigrating to New Jersey from England

Edward Dee was the founder of Smarties Candy Company and the inventor of the sweet candy discs, packaged in rolls and especially popular on Halloween. A native of England from a candy-making family, Dee immigrated to the U.S. in 1949 and made the first Smarties in a garage in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Naming his candy Smarties to promote the value of getting an education, Dee grew the business into a factory in nearby Union, which today is still family-run and produces more than one billion rolls of Smarties each year. Dee also founded the cellophane business Northern Expediting, which provides wrappers for Smarties and other candies.

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Died: November 18, 2019 (Who else died on November 18?)

Details of death: Died at home in Elizabeth, New Jersey at the age of 95.


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Devoted to the business: Although Dee turned over operations of the business to his sons and granddaughters years ago, he remained the chairman of the board until his death. And he still visited the New Jersey factory almost every day – including on the morning of his death – and offered advice and wisdom. A second factory in Toronto, creating the same candy under the name Rockets, was another frequent destination for Dee.

Notable quote: “I came to the United States to open a candy factory. I got started with two tablet machines, two wrapping machines, and five employees.” —from a 2016 interview with New Jersey Monthly

What people said about him: “Gramps came to work at Smarties the day he passed away, not because he had to, but because he wanted to. That was gramps through and through. Dedicated, hard working, caring, and even a little bit wild. I feel grateful to have known him and I miss him. My world is a little less sweet today without him in it.” —Liz Dee, Smarties co-president

Full obituary: The Star-Ledger

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