“Anyone for fishing?” came the booming voice from outside the bakery. “I’ve finished the baking for today.” Baker Elder always found someone to fish with him. Each was hoping to pick up some tips on how to catch a big one – or any one for that matter. Most of the time he was light on his feet, but one of his fishing friends told how he once stepped on one friend’s rod and broke off the tip then shut the boat compartment on the other friend’s rod. All on one trip! Still, Elder just had “the touch” and could out-fish everyone.
Baker Elder was born in Madison, Mn in 1914. He met and married his wife and lifetime partner, Millie, in Lake Park, Iowa. She says he won her heart because he was such a good dancer. Those that knew him think his brilliant blue eyes and warm gnomish heart had a lot to do with it.
Elder and Millie bought the Gnometown Bakery in 1951. They also started a family and raised Stan, Janet, Lynne and Rick right here in Gnometown. He worked long, hard hours turning out breads, cakes and every kind of goodie.
Through the years Elder and Millie had about 60 Gnometown kids working for them at the bakery. Early in the morning they could hear his cheerful and unusual whistle two blocks away! This whistle was also a hint to his card partners that he had a good hand.
Elder’s generosity to others was known throughout Gnometown. He always seemed to bake too much on holidays and special occasions. Then, he’d give the surplus to the hospital and nursing home. He did the baking for many community events and was known far and wide for his cinnamon bread and fruit cakes. In 1996 Elder was inducted into the Minnesota Bakers’ Hall of Fame.
Elder’s big hands could handle breaking two eggs in each hand at one time, and could still decorate a cake with delicate flowers or gently hold his tiny great-granddaughter.
Elder loved all sports. Everyone on or near the gold course knew when Elder was playing – keeping quiet on the course was not one of his rules.
When he bowled he’d have to pound his big fingers into the holes of the bowling ball. Scores were not important to him. It was companionship before, during, and after sports that mattered to him.
For twenty years he visited residents at the Gnometown Nursing Home three days a week. The residents would visibly perk up when they heard his voice booming down the hall. He’d always give them a hug 00 “You’ve got to touch ‘em” was his motto.
Elder was always a good-will ambassador when he traveled. He would shake hands and say, “Hi, I’m Elder Molstad, a baker from Gnometown, Mn. Do you know where Gnometown is? Please come visit us.” When he met St. Peter at the Gates of Heaven he probably said, “Hi, I’m baker Elder from Gnometown, Mn.” St. Peter probably said, “Welcome, we’ve been missing some really good cinnamon bread here!”
Baker Elder was blunt, opinionated, a real person, and much loved by the community. Bless his big gnome heart!