What constitutes a legend? Is it finding up without the need of criticism at 2 a.m. five times a week for 37 many years to make the contemporary baked merchandise customers were being clamoring for? Or perhaps web hosting heads of state as return consumers which includes a president, governors and innumerable lawmakers? Probably it is really delivery globe-renown cookies, breads and pies all close to the world or being the template for a excellent father, partner and pal.
Any one who experienced the satisfaction of recognizing him will readily explain to you, Norman August Klappenbach embodied all these traits.
Klappenbach died at age 89 on June 26. He and his wife, Lee, locked the doorways of their a great deal beloved bakery in Fordyce for the very last time practically 10 yrs in the past on Nov. 2, 2011.
His obituary go through, “He was born December 24, 1931 in Wadena, Minn., to the late August William and Anna Marie Becker Klappenbach. Klappenbach commenced his lifelong baking career as an apprentice at the age of 14. Right after graduating from higher school in Lewiston, Idaho, he enlisted in the Air Power, married Agnes Lee Barker from Kingsland and was a baker at Lackland Air Drive Base in San Antonio. Discharged just after 4 several years, he ongoing his vocation by attending Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis and then operating for Albertson’s in Washington point out.”
Lee and youngest son, Paul, gave much more element to the grasp baker’s existence.
“I was lifted in Arkansas until finally my father acquired transferred to Lewiston, Idaho, with Potlatch,” reported Lee. “That was Norm’s hometown and exactly where we satisfied. We started out dating when I was heading into the 10th grade so you could say he has guided me my total existence. We were married in 1952 even though he was however in the Air Power living in San Antonio.”
“It was not right until quite a few yrs later when we came again to Arkansas to stop by my moms and dads that Norm thought of going the bakery we had in Walla Walla, Clean., to Arkansas. He looked all around the region and explained, ‘I feel this location desires a excellent bakery.’ Quickly after we loaded up an 18-wheeler with all our house stuff and the bakery devices and moved to Fordyce,” Lee explained.
The bakery opened its doorways in November of 1975 at 108 W. Fourth St.
Two a long time later, Norman attained a learn baker’s certification from Retail Bakers of The us. He liked Arkansas and grew to become a accurate Southerner.
“He was truly a Christian and in no way criticized other people or his adopted property,” Lee stated. “And like all fathers, he beloved his sons, Mark, Tim and Paul.”
Norm worked tricky, speedy and steady, Lee stated. “He learned to do that in his early days taking care of bakeries for Albertson Foods Centers on the West Coast. Each time they opened a new retail store, they despatched Norm to established it up. 1 of our explanations for shifting to Arkansas in ’75 was we had 3 boys and needed to select the household the place we lifted them and prevent moving all over with his function all the time.”
Paul been given his organization administration diploma from Louisiana Tech in Ruston.
“I grew up in the bakery and labored with Father several many years immediately after college or university in advance of going to Memphis. I arrived back again in Fordyce in 2002 and worked there until it shut in 2011,” Paul stated.
He went on to say, “Two decades before we shut we experienced a key fireplace. It was primarily smoke and drinking water problems that shut us down for about four months to rework. We held all 6 personnel so they wouldn’t be without having work. They served with pantry cleanup and some portray.”
That’s the way the elder Klappenbach was, according to his spouse.
“He preferred to make confident individuals were being taken treatment of and furnished for. It was a challenging time but it was cleanse and extremely wonderful when we reopened,” she explained.
The brightly lit bakery and adjoining deli were being furnished with antique tables and chairs and embellished with collectible woodcarvings, a carousel horse and quite a few symptoms hanging on the walls including a significant Mobil Oil winged Pegasus.
“That was when father handed operations in excess of to me,” Paul mentioned.
They had a run-in with the insurance coverage man after the fire and Klappenbach appeared at Paul and mentioned, “you consider charge and manage it,'” Paul said. “That was it, he turned loose the reins and by no means attempted to interfere with my conclusion building thereafter.”
“Right after that, the hire went up on the building, and the charge of labor was climbing because Mother and Dad ended up all set to retire and couldn’t do all the work they had generally performed,” he said.
Lee chimed in, “Norm experienced health and fitness complications that would have designed any person else retire lengthy right before. Paul enabled us to continue to keep going for a range of yrs earlier our key. He has a authentic knack for it. Like his father, he was a organic baker and his father taught him properly.”
A pilgrimage to Klappenbach’s built Fordyce a place for a lot of. The well-known feeding on spot also played host to several companies that held catered conferences in the non-public eating space with significant home windows seeking out on West Fourth and Principal streets.
“Rex Nelson and Richard Mason loved and wrote about the bakery quite normally,” mentioned Lee.
“Gov. [Bill] Clinton often dropped in for lunch when he was attending capabilities in the place, and Mike Huckabee together with just about every congressman and senator from our district ended up frequent consumers.”
But you didn’t have to sojourn to Fordyce to appreciate the baked items.
Paul defined, “The shipping company started when I came again from higher education. Southern Dwelling set a smaller short article in their magazine that explained a best present is a box of pound cakes, breads and cookies from Klappenbach’s. You could order all our breads. Cinnamon raisin was our major seller followed by cinnamon day. Bitter dough was also extremely well known.”
Lee added, “We transported 1000’s of gingerbread males to our loyal customers in New York for the Xmas year.”
Klappenbach crafted all the iconic Klappenbach cypress shipping and delivery containers in his shop driving their residence outside Kingsland.
“Working with wood devoid of any distractions was a fantastic way for Norm to loosen up,” explained Lee.
Recalling the several years of tricky operate and extended hours, Lee stated, “The way we had to get the job done was in by itself a very good education and learning for our boys. Our prayer was always that every single of them get a higher education degree and do what they required in their lives.”
That prayer has been answered. Eldest son Mark is an Arkansas Courtroom of Appeals decide. Middle son Tim, who arrived back again with his spouse Heidi and helped operate the bakery when Paul was absent, is an engineer whose work has taken him all all over the earth.
“That’s about as great a tribute for a father as you can have,” Lee claimed.
Paul recounted, “When I was just a teen in substantial college and about to go to do the job at a community pizza cafe, Dad instructed me, ‘Paul, there is normally some thing to do, no matter whether it really is sweeping the ground or getting out the trash. I constantly assume you to be carrying out a thing when you are on the career.’ He constantly emphasized the relevance of hard perform.”
Klappenbach’s was often a household affair, where young children and grandkids pitched in not only guiding he counter but with duties ranging from maintaining the publications to making and taking care of the web site and location up an inventory manage software to facilitate the transport enterprise.
When term began to flow into back again in 2011 soon after some newspaper articles or blog posts announced the forthcoming closure, the Klappenbach employees turned confused with buyers making a run on the products.
The elder baker and Paul identified them selves generating over 1,000 loaves of bread every day to fulfill the will need.
When a few dozen close pals observed the predicament, they volunteered, releasing the normal staff members to aid preserve the baked merchandise coming.
On the closing day of operations before Norman turned the critical on the front doorway for the last time, he explained with his normal knack for understatement, “We’ve had a good run.”
On the lookout back on these times with a tear in her eye, Lee expounded, “It was excellent. We actually appreciated all our clients and buddies. We expended so a great deal time at the bakery that it was not just our occupation but our social existence as effectively. I will be eternally grateful for all the blessings we shared.”
At Norman Klappenbach’s funeral, longtime family friend and fellow church member David Archer said, “There was more to Norm than getting driving the counter of that minimal shop on Fourth Avenue. Beneath the flour-protected apron and warm smile was a excellent heart. He was providing, sacrificing, caring, furnishing, generous, humble and kind. He was a silent, hardworking man who got up way just before anyone else and did his career diligently, dependably and consistently with no a term of complaint. With no fanfare, with no notoriety or have to have for focus, hidden driving the lemon bars, elephant ears, maple logs, doughnuts and fantastic-wanting women driving the counter, Norm just pressed on. When I consider of his legacy, I feel of really like. He beloved the Lord with a everyday living of devotion and services.”
Of all the new components that went into Klappenbach’s delicacies, possibly the most vital one was cooking with enjoy.
From still left, youngest son Paul Klappenbach is in the kitchen area with standard consumer Marilyn E-book and learn baker Norman August Klappenbach. (Exclusive to The Commercial/Deborah Horn)