Frieda Fettweis, a retired master cake decorator who was the co-owner of Northeast Baltimore's Belmar Bakery, died of a stroke Sunday at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She was 96 and lived in Rosedale.
Born Frieda Kramer in Kunzelsau, Germany, she came to Baltimore in the 1940s and initially worked as a governess for a Baltimore County family. She was briefly a cashier at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and in 1946 she and her husband, Hellmuth Fettweis, a baker, took over the Belmar Bakery in the 6300 block of Belair Road in Overlea.
"Frieda was an outstanding cake decorator. She headed our wedding cake division, and we averaged 30 weddings a week," said her son, William Fettweis, who lives in Rosedale and remains in the commercial baking business.
According to a 1986 article in the Belair Road Booster Weekly, Mrs. Fettweis was "the greatest unsung master decorator of Baltimore."
There were weekends in the spring, especially June, "when Frieda never left the shop," the article said.
She also made decorated cakes for the anniversaries of both the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Towson University and for singer Cher, who celebrated her 25th birthday in Baltimore. Her party arrangers wanted an ice cream cake to be made in the summer.
"I had to decorate it inside the freezer," Mrs. Fettweis said in the Booster article.
She and her family expanded the bakery and owned other baking businesses. They also received approval as a kosher bakery.
She retired about 25 years ago, and the family sold the Belmar Bakery. After retiring, she devoted herself to being a full-time grandmother.
She was a member of Epiphany Lutheran Church.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Lassahn Funeral Home, 7401 Belair Road.
In addition to her son, survivors include another son, Robert Fettweis of Joppatowne; a daughter, Susan Welsh of Baltimore; 11 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1963.