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Charles Entenmann, who helped bring baked goods to supermarkets, dies at 92

Entenmann, his brothers and his mother helped expand their delivery-based bakery to a supermarket staple and a household name.
Entenmann's donuts.
Entenmann's donuts.Entenmann's

Charles Edward “Charlie” Entenmann, who helped expand his family’s Long Island, New York, bakery from a local delivery service to a household name, died last month. He was 92.

An obituary said Entenmann died “peacefully” on Feb. 24 in Florida, where he lived, surrounded by his surviving children.

Entenmann’s, now a supermarket staple, was opened by Charlie Entenmann’s grandfather, William, in Brooklyn in 1898, according to the company website.

William, an immigrant from Germany, would deliver his baked goods to homes in a horse-drawn wagon.

The family, in 1900, moved the bakery to Bay Shore, Long Island, after William’s son got sick and needed medical care there. The bakery kept the same delivery format, and was enjoyed by families like the Morgans and Vanderbilts.

When his father passed away in 1951, Charlie, his mother and his two brothers decided to start supplying their baked goods to supermarkets. Their packaging introduced see-through packaging, luring customers for decades to mini chocolate chip cookies, crumbly coffee cake and those classic chocolate glazed doughnuts.

Entenmann’s built a baking facility on five acres in Bay Shore, later expanding to 14 acres. The company was sold in 1978 and has changed hands a few times since. It is now owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA.

Charlie Entenmann, who served in the Army, gave generously to Long Island.

He supported the Great South Bay YMCA in Bay Shore, funded research to improve water quality and habitats in the Great South Bay and, with his brothers, endowed Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, establishing the Entenmann Family Cardiac Center.

Entenmann “was the definition of kindness, compassion, humility and strength,” YMCA of Long Island president and CEO Anne Brigis said.

“He never wanted the accolades, publicity, and recognition for his great philanthropy,” Brigis said. “The community of Bay Shore and Long Island has lost one of our greatest champions and quiet hero.”

After he retired, “his passion for advancing a limitless energy source led to the development of a self-sustaining power cell at his Biosearch, LLC, research lab,” according to his obit. He also started Biolife LLC, a company that produces health care products to stop bleeding.

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

The son also revealed a little known fact: His father didn’t have a sweet tooth.

“I’m going to tell you something that’s been pretty much a secret, most of my life anyway,” the son said. “He didn’t eat Entenmann‘s cake ... He just wasn’t a dessert guy.”

Entenmann is survived by two children, seven grandchildren and a “plethora” of great-grandchildren, according to his obit. He was buried last week in Bay Shore.