Steve Yeater  /  AP
A portrait of former President Ronald Reagan, made of different colored jelly beans, hangs in the Jelly Belly jelly bean company visitor center in Fairfield, Calif.
updated 6/8/2004 5:59:23 PM ET 2004-06-08T21:59:23

A sweet tribute to Ronald Reagan by a jelly-bean company that credits the former president with making it a "worldwide company overnight."

The Jelly Belly Candy Company of Fairfield, California, has affixed black ribbons to its large jelly-bean mosaic portraits of Reagan.

Reagan's love of Jelly Belly's began in 1967 when he was trying to quit smoking. Jelly Belly sent then-California Governor Reagan miniature jelly beans to help him.

Reagan wrote to the company chairman in 1973, "we can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without passing around the jar of jelly beans."

Reagan carried that tradition to the White House, where jelly beans became a must-have at Cabinet meetings. He even ordered seven-thousand pounds of Jelly Belly's for his 1981 inauguration.

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