Creator of Cheez Doodles passes away

by Eric Schroeder
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NEW YORK — Morrie R. Yohai, the creator of the Cheez Doodles snack, died July 27 of cancer. He was 90 years old.

Mr. Yohai developed the small, orange tubular snack at his Old London Foods facility in the 1950s. The snack was coated with seasoning and cheddar cheese that colors hands bright orange. To make the Cheez Doodles healthier, they were baked, not fried.

In 1965, Mr. Yohai sold Old London Foods to Borden, which also made Melba Toast, ice cream cones, cheese crackers and other products. Mr. Yohai became senior vice-president of Borden’s snack food division, acquiring Wise potato chips, Drake’s cakes, Campfire Marshmallows and other products for the company. Cheez Doodles now are produced by Wise Foods, Inc.

Mr. Yohai left Borden in the mid-1970s, and he became the associate dean of the business school at the New York Institute of Technology on Long Island.

He later took a writing class and eventually produced two poetry books, one of which focused on interpreting the Torah. He learned Hebrew so he could read the teachings of the Zohar, a foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah.

Mr. Yohai also supported many conservation and environmental causes through his Morrie R. Yohai Foundation.
Mr. Yohai graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received a master’s degree from New York University. He went to work for the Grumman aircraft factory on Long Island and was a pilot during World War II.

Survivors include his wife, Phyllis; a son, Robbie; a daughter, Bab; a grandchild; and two sisters, Bea Forrest and Lorraine Pinto.

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