Edward Dee, founder of Smarties Candy Co., passed away Nov. 18. He was 95.
Born Oct. 2, 1924, Dee grew up in London, England and graduated from Cambridge University. He and his wife, Anita, immigrated to the United States with their son, Jonathan, in 1949, settling in Elizabeth, N.J.
Also in 1949, Dee, a third-generation candy maker, founded Ce De Candy Inc. and began making Smarties candy rolls in a factory in Bloomfield, N.J. The company moved to Elizabeth, N.J. in 1959 and to Union, N.J. in 1967, where it remains today.
Dee also created Ce De Candy, Ltd. in Canada, opening a factory to produce Rockets, as Smarties are called there, on Queen Street in Toronto in 1963. Later, he moved the operation to a new facility built in Newmarket, Ontario in 1988.
On Jan. 1, 2011, the company changed its name from Ce De Candy, Inc. to Smarties Candy Co.
In an obituary published in The Star-Ledger, Dee was described as a “force of nature and a brilliant raconteur of international renown, possessing a charming smile, bottomless generosity and a wry sense of humor.”
Dee went into the office every day to track daily sales numbers in his ledger, including on the morning he passed away. Liz Dee, Edward’s granddaughter and co-president of Smarties Candy Co., described her grandfather as “brilliant, funny and headstrong” in an Instagram post.
“Gramps came to work at Smarties the day he passed away, not because he had to, but because he wanted to,” she wrote. “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.”
Edward Dee was predeceased by his wife, Anita. He is survived by two brothers and a sister, Dr. Ronald, Stamford, Conn., Leopold (Connie) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Charlotte (David) of London, England; his sons, Jonathan (Margaret) of Scottsdale, Ariz., Michael (Marilyn) of Harding, N.J., and Joel (Alison) of Santa Barbara, Calif.; five grandchildren, Brian, Jessica, Sarah, Elizabeth and Natasha; and five great-grandchildren, Serenity, Madeleine, Theodore, Heidi and Alina.