Kenneth Fuller Klosterman, owner and former CEO of one of Cincinnati’s oldest family-held bakeries, Klosterman Baking Company Inc., and renowned magic collector, died October 21, at the age of 87.
Ken grew up in Northern Kentucky, a graduate of Beechwood High School and Bucknell University. After graduating ROTC in college, he became Second Lieutenant in the US Army, serving in Japan for nearly 3 years. In 1958, he married Judy Lang and they were blessed with three children, Kimberly, Jayme, and Chip. Originally, Ken expected to make the Army his career; however, his father, who was chairman and CEO of Klosterman Bakery, suffered a heart attack and Ken, an only child, returned home to Cincinnati to help with the family business.
Origins of the first bakery trace back to Germany in the 1800’s. By 1892, the bakery was established in the Cincinnati area. When his father retired, Ken took over the role of Chairman and CEO, serving from 1968-2009. Ken’s love of magic formed his unorthodox way of making things happen. By “thinking outside the box,” he quickly brought new ideas to improve efficiency.
Within a relatively short time of taking over the business, Ken expanded Klosterman Baking Company in size and types of baked products, resulting in building one of the largest family-owned bakeries in the Midwest. His ingenuity gave him recognition for many “firsts” in the business, either locally or nationally, such as the first plastic bags on products, the first pullman loaf in the area, the Coney bun and foot-long hotdog buns, the first half-loaves. His innovations resulted in being honored and inducted into the Hall of Fame by the American Society of Baking.
His favorite hobby was performing magic and he would do so for almost anyone he met, from a simple youngster to even President George W. Bush. Ken often preformed on local TV, and also fooled contestants on national TV’s “To Tell the Truth.” He used his magic connections to benefit the community, producing the fundraiser ABRACADABRA at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, which featured top magic talent in the industry.
Ken, like many good fathers, lived by numerous “Dadisms.” A few of his favorites relating to the bakery are: “Surround yourself with good people;” “Do it right, do it now, do it right now;” “Sweep the dirt from the corners and you will keep the rest of the bakery clean;” “Sell the sizzle;” and “Whatever it takes, Klosterman bakes.”
Ken is survived by three children—Kimberly Klosterman, Jayme Klosterman and Chip Klosterman—three grandchildren and one great grandchild. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family. Memorial contributions are suggested to Hospice of Cincinnati c/o Bethesda Foundation 10500 Montgomery Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45242; Lindner Center of HOPE Attn: Development Office 4075 Old Western Row Road Mason, Ohio 45040; or SPCA Cincinnati Attn: Development Department 11900 Conrey Rd Cincinnati, OH 45249. Online condolences can be left at www.middendorf-funeralhome.com.