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98 Year Old Man Bakes 144 Pies After His Wife Dies

April 4, 2017


A 98-year-old man in Hastings, Nebraska started baking after his wife passed away, and has given away numerous pies and cakes since then. This heartwarming story of generosity is inspiring for anyone, but particularly if you are preparing to get married yourself.

Easy as Apple Pie

Leo Kellner felt empty when he lost his wife; they had been married for 72 years when she passed away in 2012. He started baking so he would have something to do and baked 144 apple pies the year after she died. The following year he started baking cakes too. Kellner says he learned to bake by watching his mother, who was a great baker. His secret ingredient is love, he says, something he puts into everything he does. He created his pie recipe by tweaking a recipe from a local baker. Besides apple pie, his specialties include cherry pie, a sugar-free apple/peach/cherry pie for people who are diabetic, and a variety of cakes. His favorite cakes are chocolate, angel food, and vanilla, and he has even made cake for a friend’s wedding day, although he prefers not to make that kind of cake. Due to arthritis in his right hand, he sometimes asks his part-time caregiver to help frost the cakes that he bakes. Otherwise, he handles the baking process from start to finish on his own. His friends are quick to praise his baking skills, both his pies and cakes are known for being delicious; people often ask him for his recipes.

Baking for a Reason

Everything Kellner bakes, he gives away for free. The cost of ingredients is supplemented by discounts at local markets and donations; he only asks that people pick up the baked goods at his home. Recipients include friends, family members, hospice workers who cared for his late wife, priests at his home parish, families gathered for funerals, cancer patients, and many others. Friends, acquaintances, and strangers all benefit from his generosity and baking skills. Kellner says that helping others makes him feel happy, and he believes that using baking to help others is the reason God has left him here. After working long hours for most of his life, Kellner appreciates having something to keep him busy that can make other people smile. Growing up on a farm, he learned what is was like to survive on very little as the farm turned to dust during the 1930s. He says that knowing what it’s like to be poor inspired him to want to help others and do good things for people.

Lasting Memories

Kellner and his wife, Madelon, enjoyed 72 years of married life together. When she was gone, he didn’t know what to do with himself and turned to baking to keep his mind and hands busy. Now he enjoys making others happy with his tasty creations and spreading smiles of delight with each pie and cake that he gives away. Whether you are recently engaged or have been married for a number of years already, Kellner provides a beautiful picture of a lasting, committed marriage and a loving response to loss. He has turned his sadness into smiles by sharing love with the people around him, whether he has known them for many years or has never met them before.

Planning Your Forever After

If you are in the midst of preparing for marriage and planning your wedding, you know how stressful it can be. There are many decisions to be made, people to contact, and details to keep organized. Consider hiring a professional wedding planner to help you create a beautiful day to celebrate your relationship and commitment. A professional planner cuts the stress of planning so that you can relax and enjoy the process. Your special day will be a beautiful reflection of your relationship as you begin a new life together with your husband. Allow yourself to savor every moment, and let your planner handle the many details of the day so that you can relax and enjoy the celebration with your friends and family. Start creating your own lasting memories and sharing love and happiness through your special day as you begin a beautiful marriage together.

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