Nancy Lane, who with her husband, Jerry, spent decades running Lane’s Bakery in Madison, died of ovarian cancer Aug. 16 in her home in Mercer. She was 74.
Her son, Chuck Lane, who ran the business after she retired, said his mother was the backbone of the operation. She didn’t do much baking but handled the finances and did the hiring.
Nancy Lane was a “loving, caring person,” who was willing to give anything to anybody: “time, help, whatever they needed,” Chuck Lane said.
The Park Street bakery, which was a Madison institution in no small part due to its kringle pastry, closed last September to make way for a five-story, mixed-use development.
The 58-year-old business was at its last location, 448 S. Park St., for 25 years. The year before it closed, it was awarded the statewide Bakery Operation of the Year award.
Chuck Lane hoped to have his new Lane’s Bakery in the Villager Mall on the south end of Park Street opened by now. But after a number of delays, he is now predicting it could open by late November.
In the interim, Lane said he has had almost a year to spend with his parents, and his time with his mother turned out to be particularly precious.
“I’ll never, never forget it,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason I guess, and the reason the bakery didn’t open I guess it’s because I needed to spend time with my mother when she passed.”
Jerry and Nancy Lane took over the business in 1961 from Jerry’s parents Charles and Flay Lane, who started the bakery in 1954 on University Avenue.
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The business was on the 600 block of South Park Street from 1957 until 1987, when the 400 block location was built.
When the Lanes retired, they passed on the business to Chuck and his brother, Mike. The Lanes then split their time between Mercer and a residence in Bonita Springs, Fla.
Last year, Nancy Lane told the State Journal that she’s never had much reason to bake at home. Oven temperatures are uneven, and there’s not enough counter space, she said.
Still, she imparted some advice for home bakers. First, keep the mixer and other baking tools on the counter where they are easily accessible.
“Some people have their mixers and equipment all covered and wrapped up. You are going to be less likely to use it when you have to dig it all out of the cupboards,” she said.
While baking isn’t always forgiving, as a mom, Nancy Lane was, said her son Chuck.
“She was an unbelievable mother,” he said. “She did everything she could to make sure we had what we needed. I crossed the line quite a few times and I made my amends to her. I made some mistakes, which we all do, but she told me that what I did is why I am the person I am today.”
Visitation and a memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Cress Funeral and Cremation Service, 3610 Speedway Road. The service will be at 2 p.m.
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