Gene Wolf, 66, established store to sell hand-made candy

July 27, 1996|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Ten years ago, Gene Wolf thought he could make better candy than his wife. Her butter creams were a bit too gritty, he told her. She disagreed and challenged him to make better ones. He did.

"I was surprised, but I shouldn't have been," said Mrs. Wolf, the former Anne O'Neil. "The candy he made was always the best. But his butter creams were especially good."

Mr. Wolf, 66, who died Tuesday of a heart attack at St. Joseph Medical Center, made candy the old-fashioned way -- patiently fashioning and molding each chocolate confection.

In 1986, the Bel Air resident used his candy-making and business skills to establish Wolf's Finest Chocolate store on Philadelphia Road in Rosedale in Baltimore County. His wife was co-owner.

The Wolfs made candy late into the night after he finished his day job, which paid most of the bills. Mrs. Wolf worked in the store during the day.

"He'd get home about 5: 30 and we'd make candy until about 11: 30 every night," Mrs. Wolf said.

The business now employs five people with additional help hired for special occasions.

A native of Brooklyn in South Baltimore, Mr. Wolf worked for the L. A. Benson Co. Inc., a mill supply and machine company, from 1946 to 1984. He then worked for A & A Bolt & Screw until 1990, when he left to work at the candy store full time.

"The business tripled when he came on full time. We had more candy and many more orders," Mrs. Wolf said. "His candies were just so good."

Before he sold candy to customers, Mr. Wolf experimented with ingredients to find the right mix. He saved all his recipes and seldom told anyone of the ingredients he used.

"He used no preservatives," Mrs. Wolf said. "And he made each one of them by hand. None of the big machines; he made each of them by hand."

One of her husband's secrets, Mrs. Wolf said, was not only

selecting the right ingredients but combining them in the proper order.

Sandy Nueves, who lives near the store, has been a loyal customer since it opened.

"I'm surprised I haven't gained 50 pounds, as much of that candy bTC as I eat," Mrs. Nueves said.

Despite his knack for making candy, Mr. Wolf could not eat too much chocolate because of health problems.

"Chocolate was his passion, but he just couldn't always eat it," Mrs. Wolf said. "He was concerned about his weight and cholesterol."

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Rosedale Community E.C. Church, 7901 Redmore Road.

Other survivors include a son, Martin Eugene Wolf of Bel Air; a daughter, Marianne Bowen of Columbia; three brothers, Joseph Wolf of Ellicott City, and Bernard Wolf and Thomas Wolf, both of Queen Anne's County; a sister, Dorothy Norfolk of Linthicum; and three grandchildren.

Pub Date: 7/27/96

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