CHICAGO — James H. Rosen, owner and chief executive officer of Highland Baking Co., died Feb. 27.
Although Highland Baking started up in 1985, the company benefits greatly from the owners’ long family history in the baking industry. More than 100 years ago Samuel Rosen, Jim’s grandfather, arrived in the United States. The Poland-born master baker settled in Chicago and, in 1909, founded S. Rosen Baking Co., specializing in Jewish hearth rye bread and variety rolls. It became a major supplier of buns to the city’s many small eateries and fast food businesses. Samuel Rosen passed the company along to his son Don, and his grandson Jim learned his baking skills in the family business. In 1981, the company merged with another Chicago-based bakery, Alpha Baking Co., which continues to make S. Rosen’s brand bread and buns.
After helping with the transition to Alpha, Jim Rosen was ready for different opportunities. He and his wife, Gail, pursued a venture in Florida within the baking industry, but a few years later, they returned to baking by taking over a small bakery housed in a 1,500-square-foot shop at Highland Park, Ill. The company has grown since then, moving from Highland Park to Lincolnwood to its current 250,000-square-foot facility in Northbrook, Ill., to opening a second plant in Spartanburg, S.C.
Survivors include his wife, Gail; two sons, Stuart (Leslie) Rosen and Daniel; a daughter, Cheryl (Anthony) Wedyck; and several grandchildren.
Services were held March 4 at Congregation Beth Shalom 3433 Walters Ave, Northbrook, interment following at Shalom Memorial Park 1700 Rand Rd, Arlington Heights. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in Mr. Rosen’s name may be made to the National Kidney Foundation at www.kidney.org or the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.