Picture of Russell Stover

Russell Stover

Class of 2009

Russell Stover was born May 6, 1888, in Osborne County, KS. After his family moved to Iowa City, IA, he attended Iowa City Academy. He then studied for a year and a half at Iowa State University, focusing on chemistry. He married Clara Lewis in 1911, and the two moved to Saskatchewan and then to Winnipeg, CN. In 1912 he began working for a candy company in Minnesota. Russell transferred to A.G. Morris, a Chicago-based candy company, and in 1918 he and his family moved to Des Moines, IA, so he could work for Irwin Candy Co. While in Des Moines, Russell went into partnership with Christian Nelson to develop a chocolate-covered ice cream bar on a stick, named the I-Scream Bar. Russell suggested they rename it Eskimo Pie and it became an immediate nationwide success. It also became the first product licensed under the Russell Stover Co. name. In 1924, Russell and Christian sold the company and moved to Denver, CO, to operate Mrs. Stover’s Bungalow Candies, named after Russell’s wife. They eventually opened candy factories in Denver and Kansas City, MO, moving the headquarters to Kansas City in 1931. When he died in 1954, the company was producing 11 million pounds of candy a year, operating 40 Russell Stover retail stores and selling products through more than 2,000 department stores. In 1960, Clara Stover sold the company to Louis Ward. The Ward family, which expanded it into the international confectionery company it is today, still owns Russell Stover Candies.