Sigmund Jucker, one of the original founders of Three Brothers Bakery, died Friday. He “passed away peacefully at the age of 98,” according to his obituary.
Jucker was born in the town of Crzanow, Poland on Feb. 23, 1922. He and his three siblings were the fourth generation to work at this family’s bakery, which was established around 1825.
“Although he always dreamed of being a scientist and was an excellent student, his dreams would be dashed when the war broke out in Europe in 1939,” Jucker’s obituary read. “At 17, he was sent to a concentration camp and survived the horrors of 21 camps during the Holocaust until liberated on May 8th, 1945, a day he celebrated as a 2nd birthday, for that was when he began to live again. Several years later he left Germany with his brothers and followed his sister to Houston to start a new life.”
Once in Houston, Jucker, his twin brother Sol and younger brother, Max, found work at a Henke & Pillot bakery. In May 1949, the brothers decided to go out on their own and purchased a bakery from the Meschkat family. Located on Holman Street across from Temple Beth Israel, the siblings renamed it Three Brothers Bakery, according to Jucker’s obituary.
Jucker said opening wasn’t as successful as the brothers had hoped it would bee -- They sold just $19 worth of product, according to the bakery’s website.
The brothers learned to make American cakes and pastries but ultimately gained distinction for their Jewish and Eastern European recipes, which included challah, rye bread and Kaiser rolls. The three brothers were the first to bring the bagel to Houston, according to the bakery’s website.
“He worked 6 days a week, 16 hour days for more than 50 years with his brothers by his side to build a business which would become Houston’s premier kosher-style bakery and a place where sweet memories have been made for 4-5 generations of Houstonians,” Jucker’s obituary read.
Around the year 2000, Jucker passed the business on to his eldest son, Robert Jucker, according to the bakery’s website.
Sigmund was preceded in death by his parents, Morris Jucker and Bertha Siegel Jucker; his sister, Janie Rudy and his brothers, Solomon and Max Jucker. He is survived by ex-wife Edith Jucker, his sister-in-law Estelle Jucker, children Robert Jucker, Susan Goldberg and Michelle Jucker, five grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, community members are urged to make donations to the Holocaust Museum Houston, the Emergency Aid Coalition and area food banks in Jucker’s memory.
Read Jucker’s obituary in its entirety here.