Donald E. Goerke, creator of SpaghettiO’s, dies at 83

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Donald E. Goerke, the Campbell Soup Co. executive who hit the bull’s-eye of prepared foods by overseeing the creation of the kid-friendly circular pasta called SpaghettiOs, has died. He was 83.

Gorke died Sunday of heart failure at his home in Delran, N.J., a Campbell spokeswoman confirmed.

In the mid-1960s, Goerke -- pronounced GUHR-kee -- was dubbed ‘the Daddy-O of SpaghettiOs’ for leading the team charged with creating an easy-to-eat canned pasta.

Hundreds of shapes were proposed during the yearlong debate, but Goerke ended the chatter by saying, ‘Enough already! We’re gonna do something that’s simple,’ he told the Seattle Times in 1990.


When the canned spaghetti with tomato and cheese was introduced in 1965, pop singer Jimmie Rodgers sang the jingle that ended with the seemingly unforgettable tag line, ‘Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs.’

The pasta was a hit because it was ‘spoonable,’ Goerke later said -- kids liked the O shapes and mothers the convenience.

To read the rest of Valerie J. Nelson’s obituary of Donald E. Goerke, click here.