A Tribute To Jose Lopez
It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of one of the baking community’s most passionate and dedicated thought leaders. Jose Lopez passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home, surrounded by his immediate family as he so much desired. He was very active in the American Society of Baking. He graduated from American Institute of Baking in 1997. He spent 20 years in manufacturing and 15 years in Technical Sales working for Lallemand and AB Mauri. After working his way up from the production line, he was named Vice President of Technical Sales in 2018. Jose loved to mentor bakers and passionately helped other bakers in need on forums. In true support of shared knowledge, Jose was a BAKERpedia Influencer with BAKERpedia from 2021.

A Pillar To The Industry

Jose was a true gentleman, distinguished and passionate, while remaining jovial and uplifting. A man dedicated to his craft, he always made time for those that shared his passion.

My most recent personal memory of Jose was at Baking Tech 2023, just 2 months ago. Jose and I were talking when another fellow BAKERinfluencer, Gideon Butler, brought over students from Kansas State University. Jose immediately stopped our conversation, introduced himself and greeted each of these students like they were the most important people at the show. He spoke with them for several minutes, asking them questions and interacting with them, and finally offering his business card to each of them with an offer to contact him—anytime—if they had questions or needed an introduction.

I spoke to several of those students later, and they all talked about how inspiring he was, and one told me that it made them feel like they made the right decision to pursue a career in the baking industry. His passion was infectious; he was just that kind of man.

Colleagues Remember Him

So many people were influenced by Jose throughout his working career. New stories continue to be shared, however, we hope to continue to add to this post as more colleagues share their memories.

“Jose does the best with what little he has. It is the true sign of humble beginnings. As a minority in the baking industry, he empathized with what I had to go through to launch my web-based business. He did whatever he could to support me, in addition to giving me so much emotional support. ‘You can do this Lin, I believe in you.’ That meant a lot to me when our company was struggling.

“Over the years, he would support BAKERpedia’s mission, and when I asked him to become one of our influencers, he said, ‘Whatever I can do to support you man, I’ll do it.’ That’s the Jose Lopez way of saying it. It’s his motto. It will always remind me of him and how he approached problems. I am so honored to have been his friend and see him peak at his career. I was extra thrilled to see pictures of his first grandbaby, and I still find it hilarious how similar they were with their bald heads. I would regularly participate in the captions for Bella Mae on his Facebook posts. He loves his grandchildren and would talk endlessly about them when we meet. I will miss Jose and his words, his wisdom and his passion for the baking industry.”

– Lin Carson, CEO of BAKERpedia

“For many years, I knew of Jose and always hoped to meet him one day. BAKERpedia made that possible for me.  Jose was always very kind and so generous with his time and knowledge. I never saw Jose without a smile on his face. We have lost a true champion, not only to the baking industry but also to humankind. He absolutely adored his grandchildren and loved his family deeply. May you rest in peace, my friend. Abo, we miss you!”

– Mark Floerke, BAKERpedia Podcast Host and BAKERpedia Influencer

“I had the privilege of getting to know Jose during my time as Senior Director at Flowers Foods. Throughout our time together, I witnessed his generosity and strong expertise in the field of baking. Jose’s exceptional talent as a baker was only surpassed by his ability to forge meaningful connections with those fortunate to work with him. His absence will surely leave a void, and his presence and smile will be sorely missed by all who had the honor of calling him a friend.”

– Richard Charpentier, CEO of Baking Innovation and BAKERpedia Influencer

“I’ve been thinking back on how we spent the day together playing golf last September out in Las Vegas. It was my first time ever playing in a golf tournament; Jose had invited me out and assured me we would have a blast. With the same patience and enthusiasm he had in troubleshooting with me in the bakery, he coached me throughout the day on my golf game. Our group hit some terrible shots, and then we hit some incredible ones. Through those highs and lows, we never stopped laughing. It was a wonderful day exchanging stories about our families and being outside on a beautiful day together. I’ll forever be grateful for Jose’s ability to make those cold rooms more accessible and for cracking a few jokes to cut tension.

“Jose and I shared big dreams of what the American Society of Baking could look like and, beyond that, what the Baking Industry could look like in the future. I appreciated that we could have constructive conversations. When we disagreed, it never felt tense or uncomfortable. I always respected his opinion, as I thought he did mine, and I believe we both genuinely loved the challenge of thinking differently. Jose’s time serving as a Board Member and his contributions to the Society have made us better.

“These days certainly feel much dimmer without Jose. But that passion and light that he shared with everyone are now ours to carry forward, to honor his memory. He would want us to keep sharing our stories, laughs, and dreams and watch the dough cleanup after each mix.”

 – Brittny Ohr, Director of Product Management, Sugar Foods and Past Chairman at ASB (American Society of Baking)

Jose sharing his knowledge and passion with the baking industry

As a BAKERpedia Influencer, Jose took part in our weekly Wisdom Wednesday segment to share helpful advice to bakers. Here is one of those clips:

Influence Beyond Baking

Fellow AB Mauri colleague and best friend Jeff Eller, was kind enough to share Jose’s impact beyond the commercial baking industry. Jeff truly helps to provide another perspective on Jose’s life that many people likely did not know.

“Jose Lopez was much more than a great baker. He was a great husband, father, grandfather, and a friend to so many. I first started working with Jose in 1994 at Holsum Bakery in Miami, FL. I was a single 24-year-old kid from Montana, and I didn’t know anyone. Jose and his wife, Lina, made me feel like I was a part of their family. I was invited to all of their family gatherings. We only worked together for 18 months that 1st time, but kept in touch with each other for the next 15 years. This was before cell phones when we had to remember each other’s phone number and make an effort to call. He always made that effort.

“At Jose’s celebration of life, his son Franky asked a show of hands how many people felt like they were his father’s best friend. Over 20 hands were raised. That’s how Jose made everyone feel, like his best friend. He was my best friend. We vacationed together, hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon for our 50th birthdays, and he even was the officiate for my wedding.

“Although I introduced him to Technical Services, he taught me how to truly connect with people. He was a great technical baker but also had an unbelievable ability to make deep, meaningful connections with people. It is rare to find someone who is technical and also has amazing people skills. Jose had both.

“Jose had a passion for helping young bakers and always took time to talk with young supervisors in bakeries and KSU students. He loved this industry and wanted to tell the young professionals how they could make a difference, that we needed them, and that they could have amazing careers in baking. As with others that met him, they felt that he truly cared about them. He did truly care about them.

“Jose was very involved in his Church and was the Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus. He volunteered in his community, helping others on the weekends with other Knights of Columbus members. His wife once told him, ‘It’s great y’all are helping save the world, but can we get some things done around our house one of these weekends?’ That was Jose, always wanting to help others.

“Jose and I spent the last 14 years working together at AB Mauri, and both worked to become Vice Presidents. We did it side by side, always looking out for one another. He was very proud of his accomplishments and would tell a story about a guy that he worked with when he first started in the bakery back in Miami. He told the guy that he was going to be a manager running the bakery someday. The guy told him, ‘You are crazy, there is no way that you will ever work your way up like that.’ After Jose became a Vice President, he was doing some work in a bakery that this same person was working at, and this person was doing the same job he was doing when Jose worked with him 30 years ago. Jose was a Vice President of a global company. I think he accomplished even more than he said he was going to.

“The baking industry will miss his experience, expertise and friendship. I will miss him, my best friend.”

– Jeff Eller, Vice President Technical Sales at AB Mauri

Remembering Jose and Donations In His Honor

It is easy to see how many lives Jose touched throughout his life. It didn’t matter what he was doing: work, family, friends, travel, etc. Jose provided that special spark that illuminated all who had the pleasure of being in his presence. We will truly miss him for years to come.

If you want to show your appreciation for Jose, in lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations may be sent to either of the following:

MD Anderson Melanoma Center


St. Paul 10216 Knights of Columbus, make checks payable to Knights of Columbus Council #10216, c/o St. Paul Catholic Church, 5971 MS-25, Flowood, MS 39232.

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