BAY SHORE, N.Y. — William Entenmann III, grandson of the founder of Entenmann’s, Inc., died Jan. 1 at South Side Hospital in Bay Shore. He was 79 years old.
Born in Bay Shore in 1931, Mr. Entenmann was the youngest of three brothers (Robert and Charles), and began at the company by cleaning ovens and decorating cakes.
When William Entenmann Jr. died of a heart attack in 1951, his widow, Martha, and William, Charles and Robert made changes that helped set in motion rapid growth over the next three decades.
Seeking to tap into growth in baked goods sales at supermarkets and facing a shift away from retail bakeries, the family phased out its bread business and delivery routes. Instead, the company focused on the baking and wholesale distribution of pastries and cakes to the growing number of supermarket chains serving New York City and its suburbs.
Having incorporated in 1958, the company was headed by Robert, Charles and William, as chairman of the board and chief executive officer, president and chief operating officer and executive vice-president, respectively. Martha was a vice-president of the company.
Rather than expanding as an independent company, the family sold the business in 1978 to Warner-Lambert Co., one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical and consumer products companies, in a transaction valued at $230 million. The company subsequently changed hands several times over the years and currently is owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA.
Mr. Entenmann III retired from the bakery in the late 1990s.
Survivors include his wife, Christine, of Islip, N.Y.; two daughters, Denise Walsh of Southern Pines, N.C., and Jaime Padden of Islip; a son, William of Elkton, Md.; two grandchildren; and brothers Charles and Robert.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Hospice of South Shore, 14 Shore Lane, Bay Shore, N.Y. 11706.