KANSAS CITY — Mark Sabo, the former president of Sosland Publishing Co., died Feb. 24 at St. Luke’s Hospice House in Kansas City. He was 71.
Mr. Sabo spent his entire career with Sosland Publishing, joining the company in 1972 as general manager of Retail Baking Today after graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s of arts degree in journalism. In 1977 he became director of sales for both Milling & Baking News and Retail Baking Today. He was named assistant publisher in 1980 and was promoted to director of publishing at Sosland Publishing in 1981.
Mr. Sabo was promoted to president of Sosland Publishing Co. and publisher of Milling & Baking News in 1986 in connection with a business venture between Sosland Publishing Co. and Fieldmark Media.
Mr. Sabo’s tenure coincided with dramatic change at SPC where he helped shepherd a two-publication company into a period of significant growth with the creation or acquisition of multiple titles while venturing into new endeavors. Other publications nurtured by Mr. Sabo include Food Business News, Baking & Snack, World Grain, Meat & Poultry and Bake. He spearheaded the growth of the annual Purchasing Seminar.
Mr. Sabo was a mentor to many publishers, editors and members of the current Sosland Publishing Co. executive team.
A well-known figure in the grain-based foods industry, Mr. Sabo served as chairman of AIB International and was a member of many industry groups, including the American Society of Bakery Engineers, the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry, and the Young Baking Industry Executives Committee of the American Bakers Association.
Following his retirement in 2015, Mr. Sabo was recognized for his years of industry service by the North American Millers’ Association and the ABA.
NAMA named Mr. Sabo an honorary member, and Robb MacKie, ABA’s chief executive officer, offered a tribute to Mr. Sabo at the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry breakfast during the 2016 ABA annual meeting. Mr. Sabo and his wife Michelle were in attendance. Mr. MacKie’s remarks included the following:
“Of (Mark’s) considerable contributions to the baking industry, I would like to emphasize just a couple. The first as the leader of Sosland Publishing to spur the industry to take bold action to address the Atkins Diet head on. We are all familiar with Sosland’s strong editorial content, but many may not be aware of his guidance behind the scenes at the formation of the Grain Foods Foundation. He later reprised this role when GFF required a sober and difficult recalibration of its focus and mission.
“Second, and equally important, is Mark’s role in revitalizing a flagging IBIE. His insights and perspectives brought the disparate industry stakeholders together to put IBIE on a path for growth and success. A vibrant IBIE allows the industry to reinvest in itself for future generations. Whether increasing the effectiveness of its policy advocacy, educating the next generation of leaders, or adapting innovative processes and products for the marketplace, IBIE is critically important. As a result of Mark’s unsung efforts, IBIE has rightly assumed a position as a leading global industry exposition.
“On a more personal note, Mark’s guidance, insights and candid feedback have been invaluable to me and ABA.”
Mr. Sabo is survived by his wife of 36 years Michelle; a son Matthew (Lauren) and daughter Elyse Curtin (Grant). A visitation and memorial service will be held Tuesday, March 2, at 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively, at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Wesley Chapel, 13720 Roe Ave., Leawood, KS 66224. The memorial service will be live streamed at cor.org/memorialsonline. Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Sabo's name to the Saint Luke’s Foundation, attn: St. Luke’s Hospice House, 901 E. 104th St, Kansas City, MO 64131, or the Alzheimer’s Association, 255 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601.