It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dorcas Reilly, 92, the creator of one of the most beloved recipes in America, the Green Bean Casserole. Dorcas was an incredible woman, whose legacy will live on in more than 20 million American households this Thanksgiving.
As one of the first full-time members of Campbell’s Home Economics department, Dorcas created “the mother of all comfort foods” by simply combining two things most Americans had on hand in 1955: green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Originally called “Green Bean Bake,” Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole requires only a short list of ingredients (just five), doesn’t take much time to prepare (only 10 minutes) and can be customized to please many different taste preferences.
Dorcas left Campbell in 1961 to be a full-time mom but returned in 1981 to serve as manager of the Campbell’s Kitchen, a position she held until her retirement in 1988.
In 2002, Campbell donated the original recipe card written by Dorcas to the National Inventors Hall of Fame—securing the iconic dish and Dorcas’ place in food history.
For those who had the privilege of knowing Dorcas, we greatly admired her humble and unassuming nature. Dorcas would often share that the first time she made her famous recipe, it did not receive the highest rating in Campbell’s internal testing. Yet, it was her persistence and creativity that led to an enduring recipe that will live on for decades to come.
Dorcas lived locally in Haddonfield, N.J. and is survived by her husband Tom, her daughter Dorcas and her husband Carl; her son Tom and his wife Judi. Dorcas has four grandchildren, one great-grandchild and several nieces, nephews and cousins.