A member of the Fort Worth family that started Mrs Baird’s Bakery and turned it into a North Texas institution has died of complications from COVID-19, his family says.
Allen Baird died last week at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital.
He was 97.
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"Allen and I were very close,” his 93-year-old brother Carroll said.
Allen Baird got sick about a month ago and his wife rushed him to the hospital, Carroll Baird said.
"They had her step out of the emergency room and tested him for COVID and sure enough, he had it,” Carroll Baird said. “They couldn't let her back in the room."
As his condition got even worse last week, doctors allowed his wife to visit. It was to say goodbye.
She called other family members on the phone.
"And we all got to talk to Allen and he couldn't talk back,” Carroll Baird said. “But she said I can tell by the expression on his face that he's seeing and hearing what you all are saying."
His younger brother said his own farewell.
"And I said, ‘I love you and I respect you and I know you're going to be waiting for me wherever you are going,’” he said.
Allen Baird died two hours later.
"It's a treacherous disease,” his brother said.
Allen Baird supervised the building of what was then the super-modern Mrs Baird's plant in Fort Worth.
When Baird's grandmother -- Mrs. Baird -- started the bakery in her house in 1908, she cooked four loaves an hour in a wood-burning stove.
The business grew and grew.
The Fort Worth plant that Allen Baird helped build on Interstate 35W ended up producing two loaves -- every second.
The family sold the bakery to a Mexican company in 1998.
That company, Bimbo Bakeries USA, expressed its condolences in a statement Monday.
“We are proud to continue baking Mrs Baird’s bread and sweet baked goods and Allen’s legacy will live on through the beloved brand,” the company said.
"I think he'll be remembered in the industry for his expertise in bakery equipment," Carroll Baird said.
Remembered for baking bread, and so much more.
"He was a super guy,” Carroll Baird said. “And everyone loved him."