Re-edited by Naomi K. Bonman
SAN BERNARDINO, CA- On Sunday, January 24 the community lost another pioneer. Dorothy Pryor Rose, known to most as “Mommie Helen”, was the founder and namesake of The Original Mommie Helen’s Bakery. She was renowned by celebrities and locals for her pies and widespread friendship. She was 69-years-old.
A San Bernardino native, Rose was given the inherited the name Mommie Helen from her mother, Helen Williams, who opened the family-ran bakery in 2000 in Colton before it outgrew two locations before moving to San Bernardino in March 2015. Some of Mommie Helen’s renowned customers included Oprah and Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal ordered 250 peach cobblers from the bakery for his wedding. Magic Johnson was also a customer.
“After “Mommie” had a major heart attack in 2003, she shifted to a consulting role and handed ownership to her daughter Tedra Rose, who kept the business open after her mom died Sunday. “She was — she is — a guardian angel, and she’d want someone to always be at the counter,” Tedra said.
A person of strong faith, Pryor Rose was always getting into long conversations with people she’d just met and helping them out whenever she could, although she rarely told others what she’d done, said Tedra Rose.
Scholarships, loans, free baked goods — it added up, Tedra Rose said. To make that charity a bit more organized, a foundation will be created in her name, she said.
Loved ones and community members paid tribute to Mommie Helen this past Tuesday, January 26 at Sunrise Church.