Charles Entenmann, who propelled his family’s New York bakery into a national brand, died in Florida last month at the age of 92.
Entenmann, his brothers and mother expanded the Bay Shore business across the region and eventually the country, following the 1951 death of his father William Entenmann, a German immigrant who opened the bakery in Brooklyn in 1898, according to its website.
His family sold its cakes-and-cookies enterprise for $233 million in 1978, which is more than a billion dollars in today’s money, Newsday reported. Entenmann’s still operates under new ownership, but closed their Bay Shore plant in 2014, the article said.
Entenmann, a Korean War veteran, was a supporter and advocate for the Great South Bay YMCA, and funded research to improve water quality and habitats in the bay, which separates his hometown from Fire Island, according to his obituary.
“He never wanted the accolades, the publicity; and when he gave, he gave with all his heart and with complete faith and trust in you,” Anne Brigis, a longtime YMCA executive, told the paper.
“He treated everybody with respect. It didn’t matter if you were a janitor at the bakery or a custodian at the Y or senior leadership.”
In retirement, Entenmann spearheaded energy and medical advances at his research lab and healthcare company, and along with his brothers Robert and William established the Entenmann Family Cardiac Center at Bay Shore’s Southside Hospital.
“He was an extremely generous man,” his son Charles Edward Entenmann said. “He was just a really intelligent guy … He had a fantastic sense of humor and was always playing jokes on people and having fun. He did it right.”
The elder Entenmann, who concentrated on the engineering and technical aspects of the bakery enterprise, didn’t share his family’s sweet tooth, his son reportedly revealed.
“I’m going to tell you something that’s been pretty much a secret, most of my life anyway,” his son told Newsday. “He didn’t eat Entenmann’s cake … He just wasn’t a dessert guy.”
Charles Edward Entenmann died outside Miami on Feb. 24. He had lived in Florida for decades but was buried on Long Island.