Charles Entenmann dies aged 92 as son reveals he didn’t like cake

‘He didn’t eat Entenmann’s cake … He just wasn’t a dessert guy,’ son says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 10 March 2022 03:00
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<p>Charles Entenmann died in Florida aged 92</p>

Charles Entenmann died in Florida aged 92

Charles Edward Entenmann, who worked to transform his family’s bakery in Bay Shore on Long Island in New York into a brand selling baked goods across America, died last month at the age of 92.

“I’m going to tell you something that’s been pretty much a secret, most of my life anyway,” his son, Charles William Entenmann, 65, told Newsday. “He didn’t eat Entenmann’s cake … He just wasn’t a dessert guy.”

Mr Entenmann died following heart complications on 24 February in Hialeah, Florida, according to his son.

He was buried last week at the Oakwood Cemetery in East Quogue, not far from Bay Shore. The younger Mr Entenmann said his father “was an extremely generous man”.

“He was just a really intelligent guy … He had a fantastic sense of humour and was always playing jokes on people and having fun. He did it right,” he added.

Mr Entenmann was born in 1929 at the South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore. The area is now known as the Entenmann Family Campus. He grew up working at the family’s bakery alongside his two brothers. Their father had moved the bakery to Bay Shore after their grandfather had started it in Brooklyn in 1898 after immigrating from Germany.

Mr Entenmann’s son told Newsday that he met his wife, Nancy Lee Drake, at Bay Shore High School, adding that they began dating after graduation.

The future doughnut magnate was drafted during the Korean War, spending time in New Jersey teaching service members how to use radar. It was during the brothers’ war service that their father died of a heart attack in 1951. The brothers went back home to help their mother Martha run the business.

Charlie Entenmann was focused on the engineering and technical issues surrounding the business, while his two brothers concentrated on sales and baking. The company began using see-through packaging and the company grew alongside the rise of the supermarket.

The business was sold to Warner-Lambert Co in 1978 for $233m. It’s currently operated by Bimbo Bakeries USA, which chose to end the production in Bay Shore in 2014.

Mr Entenmann contributed to numerous local organizations in Bay Shore, with nonprofit leaders saying that he didn’t want his contributions to be widely known.

“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,” the former associate executive director of the Great South Bay YMCA, Anne Brigis, told Newsday. “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.”

He moved to Florida in the 1980s, launching Biolife LLC that created technology aiding wounded seals, and which researched cold fusion, according to his son.

“Nobody knows how he got so smart. He never went to school,” Charles W Entenmann told Newsday. “I don’t think he ever forgot anything he read.”

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