The world of baking burns a little less brightly with the passing of baking industry icon and urban development legend John Paterakis. Mr. Paterakis passed peacefully on this past Sunday morning, October 16, surrounded by family and loved ones.
“Mr. Paterakis was a towering figure in the baking industry, and it is with good reason he was one of the first inducted into the Baking Hall of Fame,” said American Bakers Association President & CEO Robb MacKie. “His quiet spirit and tenacious drive built the largest family bakery in the country. His life is the quintessential American immigrant success story that is the heart of the baking industry. His leadership of ABA and the industry will be sorely missed.”
Mr. Paterakis served with distinction as ABA Chairman, as an ABA Board member for several decades, and twice as Chairman of the International Baking Industry Exposition Committee. He was also a key supporter of the creation of the Grain Foods Foundation, ensuring it was focused on the return on its investors’ contributions and moving the needle in the marketplace.
Mr. Paterakis' contributions to the baking industry are legendary, however, his contributions to the community in which he lived are far less heralded, but just as admirable. He was talked into buying a key piece of Baltimore's Inner Harbor which allowed the Inner Harbor redevelopment to move forward. Many years later, the property he bought from the city is now the vibrant and growing Harbor East. These projects are the keystones of Baltimore and a model the rest of the country has followed for urban revitalization.
Mr. Paterakis was also a key contributor to numerous local charities including local food banks, the Ronald McDonald House, the Alzheimer's Foundation, and the John's Hopkins Cancer Center. On many occasions, Mr. Paterakis would personally ensure that those without connections or means would receive treatment at the Cancer Center.
“Mr. Paterakis’ greatest legacy, however, is raising a family that is not only continuing his businesses, but continuing his support for the community in which they live and work,” said MacKie. “Mr. Paterakis was also instrumental in providing me with guidance and insight to better serve ABA members. He had an uncanny ability to see the interlocking relationships and impacts the industry could have in their respective communities. I most appreciate his support for my family and will greatly miss our face-to-face conversations and his kind notes.”