Manny Ferrero of Ashton Dies

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.”

Manny Ferrero, far right, and Robert Levin, far left, examine tobacco leaf with Jaime and Pepin Garcia in this image from 2010.
Robert Levin, the Garcias and Manny Ferrero.

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

"Manny was a very dear friend and one of my mentors in the cigar industry for almost 16 years at Holt's , I saw him almost every day when he was back home from traveling we drank together in his office smoked the best cigars and just talked about everything. He was one of a kind and he can never be replaced. Manny you are always in my heart and you will never fade as long as I live . So everybody pour yourselves a three finger Scotch AKA a Manny pour and cheers to a great man a legend a loving family man and agreat mentor we will always love you CHEERS! " —April 10, 2012 00:05 AM
"I met Manny once when he came to our shop with our Sales Rep Bill. When he came again a year later he remembered my name. Manny was a true cigar man and a great ambassador for our cause in this day and age of obscene taxes & regulation. He will be greatly missed by all those who knew him and met him. The man served two great causes in his professions in his career. The cause of Justice as a Police officer & the cause of freedom as an Ambassador of the cigar industry. My condolances go out to his family and friends." —April 2, 2012 22:51 PM
"I've known Manny for many years,a great friend and a dedicated man to Ashton and Robby Levin.He will be greatly miss in the cigar industry.My deepest condolences to the Ferrero family and the Levin family.God be with him." —March 30, 2012 17:19 PM
"Please note the update to my story, which has information on the memorial for Manny (being held on Tuesday) as well as a scholarship that has been created in his honor. RIP Manny." —March 30, 2012 17:08 PM
"Cousin Mauuel, my cousin from Philly, you will be missed by all and your extended Family in NJ. Although our shared times were few they were truly special for me. God Bless you and your Family and may God speed. Cuz Bobby" —March 30, 2012 13:15 PM
"A top representative of Ashton. Yes, he will be truly missed by everyone whose path he crossed. Melanie & Dick Manning " —March 30, 2012 12:27 PM
"John Cassidy Manny was a great husband and father and we have lost a special friend. The world will miss him!" —March 29, 2012 18:18 PM
"that is sad news " —March 29, 2012 13:17 PM
"wow that sad news " —March 29, 2012 13:16 PM
"Many people will walk in and out of our lives, but only true friends will leave footprints in our heart. Manny certainly left behind huge footprints" —March 29, 2012 00:52 AM
"A good man. A great soul." —March 28, 2012 19:04 PM
"I attended an Ashton event once where he led a Scotch and chocolate tasting. He put on a show! Great guy, will be sadly missed!" —March 28, 2012 15:41 PM