NEW ORLEANS — Robert J. Whann III, the longtime chairman of G. H. Leidenheimer Baking Co., died Dec. 5. He was 80 years old.
A lifelong resident of New Orleans, Mr. Whann was born July 1, 1939, to Josephine Leidenheimer and Robert James Whann. After graduating from St. Martin’s Episcopal School and Tulane University, Mr. Whann joined Leidenheimer in 1966. The company was established 123 years ago by Mr. Whann’s grandfather, George Leidenheimer, an immigrant from Germany. The company’s product line features a range of specialty baked foods, including the po-boy sandwich loaf.
In a 2004 interview in Baking & Snack, Mr. Whann said his decision to join the baking company was a sudden one.
“I likely wouldn’t have gone into baking if it wasn’t for the untimely death of my father,” Mr. Whann said. “I was going for my master’s in business administration at Tulane when my father passed away after only a three-week illness. I felt I really had no choice but to leave school and take over the business.”
He was chairman of the company from 1972 until 2005. He was a founding member and served for many years on the board of the Independent Bakers Association. His son, Robert James (Sandy) Whann IV is president of Leidenheimer.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Judith Walshe Whann; their children Sandy Whann (Leah) and Katherine McCall Whann (Robert Young III); and their grandchildren Leah Katherine Whann and William Mitchell Whann. Other survivors include a brother, Richard A. Whann (Suzanne); sister-in-law Aline A. Walshe; and five nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held Dec. 7 at Trinity Episcopal Church. Memorials may be made to St. Martin's Episcopal School, 225 Green Acres Rd., Metairie, LA. 70003.