DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- James A. Dewar, who sliced open a finger roll and filled it with frosting to create the Hostess Twinkie, has died at the age of 88.
Dewar, who died Sunday at the Fairview Baptist Home, was the manager of the Continental Baking Co.'s Hostess Bakery in the Chicago suburb of Schiller Park when he made the first Twinkie in November 1930.
In an interview marking the dessert's 50th anniversary, Dewar said he first stuffed a cake produced for the six-week strawberry season to satisfy his own sweet tooth. He later recognized its commercial potential.
'We needed a good two-pack nickel number, so we came up with the Twinkie,' he said. 'Twinkies was the best darn tootin' idea I ever had.'
The name for the product came to Dewar during a trip to St. Louis when he saw a roadside sign for Twinkle Toes Shoes.
'I shortened it to make it a little zippier for the kids,' he said.
Since then, 30 billion to 40 billion Twinkies have been produced, according to Harry Pierce, vice president for cake sales with Continental Baking Co.
Although the nutritional value of the Twinkie has been questioned, Dewar said he never lost faith in the value of his sponge cake and whipped cream desert.
'Some people say Twinkies are the quintessential junk food but I believe in the things,' he said in 1980. 'I fed them to my four kids and they feed them to my 15 grandchildren.
'My boy, Jimmy, played for the Cleveland Browns. My son, Bobby, was a quarterback for the University of Rochester. Twinkies never hurt them.'
Dewar began working for Continental in 1920, making deliveries with a horse-drawn wagon. He retired in 1972 as vice president.
His survivors include his daughters, Dorothy Snyder and Shirley McConachie, and his sister, Loretta Shire.