A man who spent most of his life satisfying local sweet teeth has died.
Bob Hiller ran the Rollin Pin Bakery in Janesville for 41 years, closing the business in 1999.
Hiller died Saturday at age 92. He hadn’t baked for nearly a year, family members told The Gazette in February, saying Hiller’s heart problems made it impossible to continue.
Bob and his wife, Sandy, had sold cream puffs and other sweets at fairs for years, and they continued doing that after retirement, according to Gazette records.
Sandy died in 2007. Bob kept on baking. In recent years, he cut back to selling cookies five times a year on the weekends before Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Fourth of July and Valentine’s Day.
“I started out washing pans at Cunningham’s Bakery when I was 12 years old,” he told The Gazette in 2019. In other versions, he was 14 when he joined the bakery business.
The award-winning baker told The Gazette in 1974 that he was thrown out of high school for drawing during math class.
He opened his first bakery in Milton Junction at age 17. That business ended when the military sent him to serve in Korea, but in 1958 he opened the Rollin Pin, which was at different Janesville locations, ending up at 19 N. Arch St.
The Wisconsin Bakers Association named Hiller Baker of the Year in 1974. He wrote for baking publications and lectured around the country on cake decorating, according to Gazette articles.
Hiller worked long hours, but he took time for many years to deliver treats to Janesville firefighters the morning of every major holiday.
Hiller might have been thrown out of high school, but in 1999, he and Sandy were honored by the Janesville Area Council PTA and school board, The Gazette reported.
The PTA president read a “report card” at the meeting, giving the Hillers straight A-pluses in quality, customer service and taste.
The report card included teacher comments, such as “you have worked well with others” and “good use of color, taste, shapes and sprinkles.”
A funeral is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, April 11, at Apfel Wolfe Funeral Home, 21 S. Austin Road, with visitation starting at noon at the funeral home.