I was saddened to read that Lawton Wolf, founder of Peggy Lawton Kitchens, died last week at 93. Following is his obiturary from the Boston Globe.
THE BOSTON GLOBE SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2004
Lawton D. Wolf, at 93; owner of baked-goods company
By Tom Long
Lawton D. Wolf was a man who knew a good thing then he saw it: First when he met and married Peggy Hannah and then when he tasted her fudge brownies.
The couple parlayed those home-baked goodies into Peggy Lawton Kitchens and a line of cellophane-wrapped treats that are convenience store staples from Maine to Washington, D.C., and comfort foods to many.
Mr. Wolf, 93, who died Wednesday in his home in Needham, was the businessman behind Peggy Lawton Kitchens, a line that now includes brownies, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and several other snacks.
The company, which he founded in 1949, employs about 40 and produces as many as 200,000 cookies and 200,000 brownies each day at its Walpole plant.
Mr. Wolf had a paternal relationship with employees, many of whom worked for him for decades.
‘Everyone loved him;’ Robert Willis, office manager of Lawton Kitchens, said yesterday. “He was very gentle in his approach to everyone and very caring. It was always a joy to see him."
Peggy Lawton baked goods are comfort food to many who remember the confections from childhood.
Willis said dozens have arranged to have the baked goods shipped to soldiers in Iraq to remind them of home.
A series of postings on the Roadfood.com website attest to their popularity.
One displaced New Englander wrote of stopping at a gas station on the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut and buying 20 packages of the chocolate chip cookies to take home.
Another wrote of visiting Boston from San Francisco and returning with several dozen packages of the oatmeal cookies.
In the beginning, there was the fudge brownie and a luncheonette in Dedham operated by Mr. and Mrs. Wolf for several years in the 1940s. It was called The Sampler and business was up and down, but one constant was the popularity of Mrs. Wolf’s brownies.
The couple decided to close the restaurant and open a commercial bakery in 1949.
“With Lawton’s business sense and Peggy’s recipe, it was a joint endeavor from the beginning," the couples son, William of Walpole, said yesterday.
They joined their first names to name the company, which is now operated by their son.
A sharp dresser with an ever-present ascot, Mr. Wolf was the only child of a steam locomotive mechanic and a homemaker who raised him in Trenton, N.J.
He graduated from Ryder University in Lawrenceville, N.J., in 1932.
He met Peggy Hannah at a meeting of the Plymouth Brethren, an evangelical Christian group. The couple married in 1935 at the height of the Great Depress ion and took a steamboat up the Hudson River to Vermont for their honeymoon.
Mr. Wolf did editorial work for Reader’s Digest before becoming a production supervisor at the Wright Aeronautical Co. in Cincinnati and at later Holtzer-Cabot Electric Co. in Boston.
Mr. Wolf was fond of big-band music and spent several months each winter at the Lawrence Welk resort in Escondido, Calif.
“He was a very kind man who was very strong in his convictions;’ his daughter, Kathleen of Hoover, Ala. said yesterday. “He worked hard every day to his promises to my mother and provide a living for my family to build a business, and to be a witness for his religion.
In addition to his wife, son, and daughter, he leaves six grand children.
A funeral service will be held today [9/25/2004] at 10:30 am, in Dover Church in Dover, He will be buried in Highland Cemetery in Dover.
Tom Long can be reached at email@example.com