Updated March 30
Emmanuel Ferrero, the senior vice president of Ashton Distributors Inc., died suddenly and unexpectedly last night at the Tobacconists’ Association of America retail convention in Los Cabos, Mexico. He was 63, and would have turned 64 in May.
Ferrero, known to everyone as Manny, was dancing with his wife during a party Tuesday night surrounded by members of the cigar industry when he dropped to the ground. He could not be revived.
Ferrero was a full-time police officer in Philadelphia when he began working around cigars in 1978, taking a part-time job for Holt's, a local retail cigar shop owned by the Levin family. After suffering an accident that ended his 17-plus years on the force, Ferrero was hired full time by Holt's in 1986. Three years later, Ferrero was named brand manager for the Ashton cigar brand, the year Tabacalera A. Fuente began rolling Ashton cigars in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
“He is the spiritual leader of the sales force,” Ashton owner Robert Levin said of Ferrero in an August 2003 Cigar Aficionado interview. “He gives them the passion and the integrity they need to be out there on the road.”
Ferrero had a type-A personality. He loved to debate and would make a point with passion and vigor, then throw his arm around the shoulder of the person he was just arguing with, professing his love and admiration. Ferrero had a taste for the good life and enjoyed leading cigar aficionados on seminars where he paired the various incarnations of Ashton cigars with food, wines and spirits. He was involved with the Levins in helping create Ashton's newest brands, the series of La Aroma de Cuba and San Cristobal cigars made in Nicaragua by the Garcia family of My Father Cigars.
Ferrero traveled extensively to promote the brands, and took immense pride in organizing dinners for Ashton each year at the annual International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers trade show, creating a detailed menu with carefully selected wine pairings that changed each night. His toasts to begin each dinner were legendary and lengthy and often included references to his Italian heritage, his love of cigars and his unbridled affection for the United States of America.
Ferrero is survived by his wife, Rosemary; his children Anthony, Jennifer and Gina and two grandchildren.
Family and friends may pay their condolences on Tuesday, April, 3, from 9 to 10:45 a.m., followed by a mass at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the scholarship fund established in Ferrero’s memory:
Manny Ferrero Memorial Scholarship Fund
Ancillae Assumpta Academy
2025 Church Road
Wyncote, PA 19095