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Robert Entenmann, former baked goods executive, dies at 88

Robert Entenmann after the parade down Bay Shore's

Robert Entenmann after the parade down Bay Shore's Main Street to mark the 100th birthday of the Entenmann's company on May 5, 1998. Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus

Robert W. Entenmann, a former chairman of the iconic Entenmann’s baked goods company and grandson of its founder, died Thursday at his home in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida. He was 88.

In addition to running the sales division of Entenmann’s and serving as chairman, he worked as a consultant for the company until he was about 80, his daughter Jacqueline Entenmann said Thursday. The father and daughter co-owned Martha Clara Vineyards in Jamesport, named for Robert’s mother, and Robert also owned a home in Riverhead.

“He was loved by a lot of people,” his daughter said. “His enthusiasm and passion for life was boundless.”

Entenmann’s grandfather William founded the baked goods company in Brooklyn in 1898.

Robert Entenmann was born in 1928, and was the eldest of three sons. His daughter said she recently came across a New Year’s resolution letter he wrote when he was about 12.

“His resolution was to, of course, obey his parents but also be kind to animals and to take care of people less fortunate than himself,” Jacqueline said. “That’s really the cornerstone of so many things that he did for the community in Bay Shore and really all of Long Island.”

Robert was serving in the Marines when his father, William Entenmann Jr., died. He returned home to help his mother and two brothers, William and Charles, run the company.

Robert was in charge of sales, according to the family.

Robert’s “dynamic” nature made him a perfect fit for the role, his niece Jaime Padden said. “He walked in a room and people noticed him, you put your back a little bit straighter,” she said. “You wanted him to notice you because he was such a presence himself, without being bold or pushy.”

Robert’s father moved the bakery to a shop on Main Street in Bay Shore in 1924. The business later moved to a factory that grew to 14 acres. The factory ceased production in 2014, although the company maintains retail and distribution centers on the Island.

The family sold the business to Warner-Lambert in 1978. It is now owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA.

Robert was a commissioner of the volunteer fire department in Bay Shore and was active in supporting the Great South Bay YMCA as well as veterans’ groups, local organizations and other causes, family members said.

He was an avid sailor and fisherman who sailed around the world and took his boat to the Bahamas earlier this year, Jacqueline Entenmann said.

He planted grape vines on his 200-acre property in Jamesport and founded the vineyard during the mid-1990s in a spirit of adventure, she said. “It was such a new industry, the freshness of it inspired him,” she said.

He is survived by his brother Charles, his former wife Mary, his daughter Jacqueline and his son Robert.

Visiting will be at Overton Funeral Home in Islip on Monday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

Services will take place Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Islip. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Bay Shore.


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