James Herr

The man who parlayed a $1,750 investment into the creation of one of the largest regional snack food companies in the United States passed away last week. James S. Herr, who ― together with his wife-to-be, Miriam ― founded Herr Foods by acquiring a small potato chip company in Lancaster, Pa. in 1946, died last Thursday of complications from pneumonia.

Herr built up Herr Foods from a tiny local business into a $250-million powerhouse that produces a broad range of snacks, everything from  potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips and cheese curls to pita chips, popcorn, crackers, nuts, pork rinds, onion rings and meat snacks.

Today Herr Foods’ products can be found in most states and in many foreign countries. While retaining his title of founder, Herr retired from his role as chairman of the company 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.

Herr was very active in his community and his church, Mount Vernon Mennonite. In addition, he provided leadership on numerous boards dedicated to evangelism, philanthropy, and free enterprise.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Miriam Hershey Herr, five children, 20 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.