Benjamin F. DeBaufre, who for more than 50 years happily supervised the production of Berger's cookies, a distinctive chocolate-covered cookie that through the years undoubtedly contributed to the waistlines of its devotees, died Sunday of a heart attack at his Parkville home. He was 68.
Mr. DeBaufre (pronounced De-BAW-free) and his late brother, Charles DeBaufre Sr., began working as children in the old Dallas Street bakery owned by the Russell family, greasing pans and smearing chocolate on the famed cookies that are as much a part of the local scene as crab cakes, the Orioles or August afternoon humidity.
In 1918, the bakery was purchased by the Russell family, who continued producing the vanilla wafer cookie that is liberally covered with a fudge-like frosting. In 1969, the two DeBaufre brothers and John Koehler, a brother-in-law, purchased the business and decided to keep the product's old name because of its long connection to and familiarity in Baltimore.