James Stauffer Herr, founder of Herr Foods Inc., maker of Herr’s line of snacks, died of complications from pneumonia on April 5. He was 87.
Jim Herr was born in Lancaster, Pa., on Aug. 6, 1924. In our 2011 R&D Teams of the Year story (Herr Foods won in the medium-size category), we reported:
Herr grew up on his family’s isolated chicken farm. “In 1946, at age 21, he wanted more contact with people, so he looked in the newspaper for opportunities,” says Daryl Thomas, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “He saw an ad for a potato chip company in Lancaster, Pa., and bought it, the kettles and a truck for $1,750. He faced a litany of challenges over the years – the plant burned down to the ground, it was rebuilt, moved, suffered damage from a hurricane, and he faced other setbacks. But Jim continued on tenaciously believing in what he was doing.”
Jim Herr is survived by his wife of 65 years, Miriam Hershey Herr, five children, two brothers and a sister.
Jim started his snack food business in 1946 with the help of his then-fiancée Miriam. The business grew from a small potato chip manufacturing operation to a producer of a full line of snacks. Today Herr’s products can be found in most states and in numerous foreign countries. In addition to traditional flavors, the company makes Heinz Ketchup chips, Old Bay Seasoning chips and Kansas City Prime Steak chips, among others.
While retaining his title of founder, Jim Herr retired from his role as chairman of the board of Herr Foods when his eldest son, J.M. Herr, assumed that role in 2005. Until his passing, J.S. continued to serve on the board of directors.
Following a private interment for the immediate family, plans include public visitation next weekend and a memorial service in several weeks. For details, visit www.herrs.com or call 800-344-3777. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the James S. Herr Foundation, which supports evangelism around the world. They can be sent to: