Howard Alton Jr., former president of Pan-O-Gold, dies

by Eric Schroeder
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WAYZATA, MINN. — Howard R. Alton Jr., former president of Pan-O-Gold Baking Co., died Dec. 3. He was 90 years old.

Howard Alton Jr., Pan-O-Gold Baking
Howard R. Alton Jr.

Mr. Alton was born in 1927 in Pipestone, Minn., and later served in the Marines in World War II. He attended college on the GI Bill, first at Augustana College and later at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with a business degree in 1950. He attended and graduated from the American Institute of Baking in 1951.

Following his graduation from the A.I.B., Mr. Alton embarked on a long career in the baking industry. He worked for his father’s bakery, Pan-O-Gold Baking Co., eventually taking over as president of the company when his father died in the 1950s.

Under Mr. Alton’s leadership Pan-O-Gold expanded during the 1960s, adding bakeries in Minneapolis and St. Cloud, Minn., and Fargo, N.D. Today, the company is run by Mr. Alton’s son, Howard R. (Robin) Alton III, and has bakeries in St. Cloud, Fargo, and Madison, Wis. The company bakes and distributes bread in nine upper Midwest states under the brand names Country Hearth and Village Hearth. It is a supplier to many restaurants, institutional and co-pack businesses.

In the early 1970s, Mr. Alton was one of the founding members of Midwestern School of Law, which later became Hamline University Law School. At age 48, he graduated Cum Laude as part of the first law school class in 1975. During his career he was active in many baking organizations, including the American Bakers Association, the Quality Bakers Association, W.E. Long Coop, the Black Sheep and the A.I.B.

Survivors include his wife, Camilla Ann Alton; one son, Robin Alton; four daughters, Ann L. Alton, Jeanine P. Alton-Ryan (Shawn), Patricia Alton Baker (Jeff), and Michelle Alton Bonomo (Sammy); 13 grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. 
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