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Memorial forms as Westminster mourns loss of bakery owner

Flowers have been placed outside the JeannieBird Baking Company on Main Street in Westminster in memory of Jeannie Vogel who was killed in a traffic accident early in the morning of February 19.
Flowers have been placed outside the JeannieBird Baking Company on Main Street in Westminster in memory of Jeannie Vogel who was killed in a traffic accident early in the morning of February 19. (DAVE MUNCH/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

A candle burned slowly, surrounded by bouquets of flowers and cards that filled the doorway of Westminster bakery JeannieBird Baking Co. on Saturday in memory of the bakery's owner Jeannie Vogel, who died early Friday morning when her vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer on Md. 27.

Denise Beard stopped by the storefront of the West Main Street bakery, which was closed Saturday, with her two children Eley, 6, and Josiyah, 8.

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"It's very heartbreaking," said Beard, who first met Vogel when she was selling baked goods at a street festival nearby. Vogel had been closing down for the day but gave Eley and Josiyah some scones to try, Beard said.

Before opening the storefront at 42 W. Main St., in a shop previously occupied by Heinz Bakery, Vogel began selling baked goods at the Westminster Farmers Market in 2010. She worked as a pastry chef at restaurants and in shops throughout Maryland, where she met her husband Bernie Vogel.

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"She was the most amazing person. Her love was in her food, and you could just taste it," said Beard, whose husband works in the food service industry. "Her food was authentic and she was genuine."

Vogel and her husband opened the bakery and cafe in fall 2014. She is survived by her husband and three children.

Bernie Vogel posted a note on the bakery's Facebook page that read in part: "The Vogel family and JeannieBird Croo are so deeply touched, warmed, and comforted by this amazing outpouring of prayers and heartfelt memories. … She loved and appreciated you all. As do I."

Beard said her family will continue to support the bakery, which is scheduled to reopen Tuesday. Her children will return to read a poem in Vogel's memory, she said.

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Westminster resident Goma Cannon learned of Vogel's passing while walking by the storefront with her dog Molly.

"It's terrible — you always see these types of memorials on highways, but to see it right here on Main Street," Cannon said.

Cannon, a customer of the bakery, said Vogel was a very sweet lady who always had a large crowd of people at her shop.

"She always had a smile," Cannon said. "And, of course, everything was delicious."

Westminster resident Chelsea Dorsey placed with care a bouquet of flowers in front of the shop, looking up to reveal tears streaming down her cheeks.

Dorsey, who works for Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland in Westminster, said she initially met Vogel through her daughter.

"She was just extremely welcoming to anyone who came in and good at getting to know people," Dorsey said.

Dorsey said Vogel would often provide a place to stay for clients of Family and Children's Services when they had no place else to go, a generosity that she extended when hiring employees.

"I know some of the stories of her staff, and she just took them in when they didn't have a home or a healthy family, and was very, very nurturing and just became a mom for everyone, really," Dorsey said. "It's a terrible, terrible loss."

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