We typically like the keep the Blair Candy blog a pretty happy place, but when browsing the web this morning we came across a spot of sad news – Nello Ferrara, the candy creator of timeless favorites Atomic Fire Balls and Lemonheads, passed away on February 3rd. The Washington Post reports that the 93 year old “died Friday at his home in the Chicago suburb of River Forest surrounded by his family.”
While the news of Ferrara’s passing is upsetting, what we learned about him in the rest of the article and several other articles was anything but! It makes us smile to know the man behind many candies we grew up on and still love today was as sweet as the sugar that is the foundation of his tasty treats. His son, Salvatore Ferrara, shared with The Washington Post that Nello was known for his daily singing, which was shared with those beyond the family when he would turn on the serenading charm at restaurants. Clearly a man who understood the beauty and importance of family, he and his wife Marilyn were married 63 years, and had “mandatory family dinners every Sunday.”
As for what they ate at those Sunday dinners? An article from the Forest Park Review quoted his granddaughter Alana as saying, “He’d be standing in front of the stove cooking for his grandchildren and kids, making spaghetti and meatballs with gravy and sausage. Because that’s what he did. He was a phenomenal cook.” As for what he sang? The article names favorites including Send in the Clowns and Wind Beneath My Wings. Alana mentions that he sang Wind Beneath My Wings to his wife, “and he meant it every single time.”
We’ll always be grateful to Nello for the delicious treats he brought to the candy dishes of our past and present, but are most moved by what a fantastic person he seemed to be. We’re sending warm wishes to his family and friends in this time of loss, and hoping the wonderful memories and strong family connection that was so important to Nello will bring them peace.