Tributes paid to legendary Essex Road baker Michael Raab
- Credit: The Raab family
Tributes have been paid to a legendary baker who worked at his family's bakery since he was a boy until his death, aged 85.
Raabs the Bakers will be closed on Monday (May 24) when Michael Raab's funeral is held, after he died on May 15.
The shop was founded in Dalston in 1948 by Michael's father Wilhelm, before it moved to Essex Road in the 1970s.
But he was always keen to tell his family that its history dates way back further than this to Austria, where his grandfather had run a bakery too.
Michael was born there, in Vienna, in 1936 - but his family had to move to England when he was two to escape the Nazi regime.
"He would tell us how brave both his parents were, how they defied odds, especially his mother [Freida], and if they hadn’t taken risks, none of them would have been here today," said his granddaughter Larissa.
He worked in the bakery with his brother Peter, whose son David now works there with Michael's sons Philip and Paul.
His family joke that he was a "family man with two families" - the Raab’s and the bakery family, who he would spilt his time between, "because both were so important to him".
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"He’d go to work and feel it was a privilege," said his granddaughter Rebecca.
"He went in as often as he could for as long as he could.
"In fact, most family conversations were about the shop. We’d be having Christmas dinner and, even though it was closed, we’d still be talking about the shop.
"Since his passing I’ve heard people tell me stories about him that I hadn’t heard before.
"I cannot think of a better way to honour him than to keep telling the stories he’d have been telling too if he were here.
Paying tribute on social media, customer Clare Robinson said: "Another well respected part of the Essex road community sadly passed and the best bakers in Islington."
Jo Redmond added: "You gave Islington the best cakes and bread ever known to man. Such fond memories of coming every morning for a roll and cake. Thank you Michael for your dedication to Islington."
Donations for the British Heart Foundation charity are being collected by Michael's family in his memory. See bit.ly/2T7G5Vc.