CHICAGO — Nick Nicholas, a longtime fixture in the Chicago baking industry as co-founder of Alpha Baking Co., died Dec. 9. He was 83.

Mr. Nicholas co-founded Alpha Baking Co. in 1979 when it bought Mary Ann Baking Co. in Chicago. Founded in 1935, Mary Ann was the originator of the Chicago-style poppy seed hot dog bun, which Alpha continues to bake for not only the Chicago market, but also for those selling Chicago-style hot dogs across the United States. In 1981, Alpha purchased the S. Rosen’s Baking Co., a Chicago staple of Jewish hearth rye breads and variety rolls since 1909.

Through the years, Alpha has continued to grow through the acquisition of Kreamo Bakers in South Bend, Ind., Natural Oven’s in Manitowoc, Wis., and National Baking Co. in Chicago. Alpha Baking currently sells its products under the S. Rosen's, Mary Ann, Kreamo, Golden Hearth, and Natural Ovens brand names.

At the time of his death, Mr. Nicholas was senior vice-president of sales, with responsibility for institutional and independent sales in the Chicago land market.

Survivors include his wife, Arlene; three daughters, Jayme Nicholas (James Marselle), Mary (Craig) Pieters and Andrea (Curt) Danekas; and nine grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Holy Family Village at Food for the Poor (

A visitation is set for Dec. 21 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Holy Family Church, 2515 Palatine Rd., Inverness, IL. Mass will be held Dec. 22 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Family Church.