Gladys (Delano) George
23 years with Baker’s (1932-1955)
From a 1975 letter from Gladys George:
“I worked there for 23 years as secretary to the director of Purchases, (Lockett Coleman). A teletype machine was installed beside my desk, connected directly to Scarburgh company of New York, the Cocoa Bean Exchange. For 5 years I sent and received all the messages regarding the cocoa bean purchases, etc. It was a busy machine and noisy.
“Mr. Coleman had taken 2 trips to Europe and south America to purchase cocoa beans, and was to take a third trip, which he really did not want to take. On each trip he took out a $100,000 policy costing $100. This was approximately the latter part of 1950. Three men were in the party. In Brazil, the last lap, they were ready to fly home. One of the party did not want to fly and wired for permission to come home by boat. He was grudgingly given permission to do so, as he would be delayed several more days.
“Over the Brazilian Jungle, the plane crashed with no survivors. I received a call from one of the Boston newspapers asking me where Mrs. Coleman lived. I asked him why he wanted to know, and he told me about the accident. I asked him to wait and I got in touch with the President of Walter Baker’s, told him the story, and had the called transferred. The paper, of course, was not given the information. The President and the Asst. Purch. Agent went to Brookline and told Mrs. Coleman about the tragedy personally.
“It was impossible to remove the remains, so a special service was held for them. I believe this took place in Panama. Walter Baker had a special service for Mr. Coleman at the Episcopal Church on Randolph Avenue in Milton.
“The crash gravely affected the man who came home by boat and he passed away exactly one year from the date of the crash.
“For 1-1/2 years we did not have a Director of Purchase. When one was appointed, a Mr. Truax (he was the brother of the movie actor by the same name), he told me all he wanted to do was put his feet on the desk and think. I put up with it for 6 months and moved from Medfield to Uxbridge in July 1955. Bob Land who worked beside Mr. Truax left 2 months after I did, and the new Director was fired 6 months later. I would say he was in his 40s and he went south to work in another chocolate company. I heard that he passed away several years later.
“Walter Baker was purchased by General Foods, along with other companies, Minute Tapioca, Jell-o, etc. all were transferred to Dover, Delaware.
“They gave up making chocolate bars, cocoa and the 20# [20 pound] cakes for dipping. (I sure did love the 20# Mayflower chocolate.) We could buy them. I believe they only make Baker’s cooking chocolate and German Sweet Chocolate now. I am not sure about the Caracas which men seem to enjoy.
“I grew up on Walter Baker Chocolate. I very seldom eat anything but chocolate. (I wonder why?)
Everyone driving through the square could smell the chocolate except us (the people who lived around there.) When I go to Dorchester...it is hard to believe the change that has taken place in the numerous buildings which comprised the Walter Baker Company. My Mother, 2 Aunts and Uncle all worked in Bakers during the years. Also, on the opposite corner from the office is a large 5-story apartment house for the elderly. (To me, it looks so out-of-place.)"