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King David's Bakery


                                                          
King David Bakery- Effie (?), Hank Wolfrum, unknown?

 
                                                   
King David Bakery, 11 Mile Road, 1940's

The King David Bake Shop and WEXL Radio
by  - Edward J. Wolfrum
           
The King David Bake Shop has always been a remembrance from my youth. Comments made by my dad, along with a photo of my father as a young man in his "whites" have always peaked my interest about this former Royal Oak bakery.

I knew that the bakery was owned by J.B. Sparks. He was my father’s employer, when he ran the bakery for him in the 1940s, and twenty years later, in my teens, was my employer as a young engineer. I worked for WEXL/WOMC in the early 1960's when it, along with WHGR in Houghton Lake, Michigan were both owned by the Sparks Family.

My wife Sue and I cared for my father for the last two years under home hospice care. This allowed time for many stories about his life and the bake shop. On one Saturday trip with dad to the Royal Oak Farmers Market he pointed to the small building across the street from the Market and said "that was the bake shop."  I had always assumed that the building had been torn down, but what I knew as the WEXL Radio Studios of the 1980's, was formerly the King David Bake Shop. Seemingly, I had walked the same floors as my father when I was helping Gordon Sparks, Jr. build and install new broadcast equipment for WEXL. What was even more interesting to learn was that the WEXL studios, and the bakery at one time shared the building. WEXL radio novices like Porter Bourne and Bob Maxwell, who became radio giants on major networks, once stole my father’s donuts from the King David Bake shop next door.

As a child my dad would get up early (4am) and then spend long hours at the bakery. Something that he was still doing, in the 1980's, when we would visit him at the last bakery that he owned in Hessel, Michigan.
   
The rewards of dad's profession for me were great bread, good pastries and cookies and the knowledge of what fresh, scratch made bake goods should be.

I knew he had truly retired when he began sharing his methods and "secrets" with Sue and now, she carries on some of the traditions of the King David Bake Shop at home. Dad died in October of 2007 but passed on some of the lore of Royal Oak's many bakeries before his passing.

We would be interested in any stories or photos others may have about the early years of the King David Bake Shop, WEXL radio, or any other historic businesses in Royal Oak.   

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