Antioch businessman's sudden death leaves void

  • Ken Slove just before the opening of the flagship Lovin' Oven Cakery in Antioch in early 2018. He died Saturday.

      Ken Slove just before the opening of the flagship Lovin' Oven Cakery in Antioch in early 2018. He died Saturday. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer, 2018

Updated 3/24/2020 2:10 PM

A well-known Lake County businessman whose disposition complemented his products has died

Ken Slove, the son of a baker and founder of Lovin' Oven Cakery in 1989, died Saturday morning of a heart attack, according to his wife, Betty.


Her Facebook announcing his passing post sparked more than 2,000 comments and 953 shares as of Monday afternoon, a testament to the popularity of the business and family.

"We will always keep with us Ken's spirit, his help, kindness and charity for so many," Antioch Mayor Larry Hanson said on his Facebook page.

Hanson described Slove as a "longtime champion" of the community. He said Lovin' Oven's flagship bakery and store, which opened in early 2018 at 455 Lake St. near downtown, became an integral part of the village.

Slove's parents opened a bakery in Chicago in 1946 and moved to Lindenhurst in 1960. He grew up in the area, attended Antioch High School and regarded the village as a second hometown.

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He founded Lovin' Oven Cakery as an offshoot of a third-generation family business. A small bakery and retail outlet now in Round Lake Beach was the first location. A second Lovin' Oven operated for 10 years across from Cook Park in downtown Libertyville. That location closed last year.

In 2017, the village of Antioch provided a $250,000 grant to renovate and retrofit the vacant former Hannah's department store, where Slove opened an enormous flagship bakery with cafe seating for 100, two party/meeting rooms and a "bridal suite" for browsing wedding cakes and products.

"This is truly a loss for Antioch," village Trustee Mary Dominiak said. She described Slove as a great man who loved his family business and the community.

"Lovin' Oven is a significant contributor to the growing success of our downtown but what's really more important is that Ken Slove and his family are just really terrific people, so his passing is personally, for many, creating a horrible void," she said.

Betty Slove said on Facebook the business is closed until further notice but to check social media or the website for updates.

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