Raymond Clark Moré, a third-generation owner of La Segunda Central Bakery, died peacefully at home Sept. 12. He was 87.
He was born during the Great Depression in Ybor City, two decades after his grandfather founded the family business. He grew up around the bakery, waking up at 5 a.m. to help his father (who also was named Raymond Moré) deliver loaves of bread to homes around town.
His family called him Ramoncito, Cucito and Baby Ray, after a character in a book their grandfather used to learn English while achieving citizenship. He pronounced his last name More-ay and always made sure people placed the accent over the e.
Raymond Moré's father built a special room off the garage where his son could tinker — first crafting model planes, and later, building his own car and helicopter.
After graduating from Jefferson High School, he attended three different colleges, bouncing from the University of Florida to the University of Tampa to the University of South Florida. He enlisted in the U.S. Army instead of finishing. Then he worked as an engineer at IBM for a decade.
As his father aged, Raymond Moré made his return to the family bakery. He knew well the art of baking Cuban bread from scratch, how to punch and roll the dense balls of dough into something that would become crispy outside and soft inside.
Raymond Moré ran the business alongside his cousin, Anthony Moré. Together they revolutionized the way La Segunda baked and sold 18-inch loaves of bread to restaurateurs like the Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart.
Inside the bakery, Raymond Moré filled in during the holidays when they were short staffed. Because he was friendly and good at speaking, he often led tours. His sister, a special education elementary teacher named Helen Ennis, brought her class each year.
“He treated them how they should be treated,” she said. “He’d give a little history that was for the teachers, and then he’d teach them how to make it.”
His friends at the bakery remembered him as a handsome man with a thick head of hair. His daughter, Yanna Moré Galante, joked his bold mustache could help him pass as El Chapo.
She tells stories about the time her father and uncle bought 15th Street Bakery, roughly a mile down the street from La Segunda. Renamed as Moré Bakery, the business whipped up pastries and cakes. And, of course, bread.
At the time, La Segunda didn’t make its own sweets, so the two bakeries supplemented each other.
“You’d be driving guava turnovers to the original bakery, and bread back and forth,” Galante said. “Back then, there were sacks of flour that had to be lifted into the mixer. He said they would load up all this flour on a forklift and he would just drive down 15th the next day to drop it off.”
Every so often, a police officer would stop Raymond Moré on his forklift journeys. He always convinced them to look the other way.
Eventually, the family decided to combine the bakeries and fold the pastry operations into La Segunda. Employee Sheila Patrinostro came along.
The Morés originally purchased 15th Street Bakery from Patrinostro’s parents, then hired her when she was 14. She still works at La Segunda nearly five decades years later.
“He used to laugh and give me a hug,” she said. “He worked so hard in making the bakery the way it is.”
When Patrinostro fell in love with a fellow La Segunda baker, Raymond Moré attended their wedding.
“He was joking around with my husband, saying, ‘You know you better take care of Sheila. I love her.”
Raymond Moré's children grew up around La Segunda just as he did. They played on sacks of flour, co-piloted bread deliveries and worked behind the counter on their summer vacations. He taught his children that everyone was equal, and he loved making his employees happy. One time he took a worker to Best Buy and bought him a PlayStation.
“He wasn’t just running the place. He was part of the place,” Galante said. “And if you talked to any of those bakers that are generational, they will tell you they would run through a wall for him.”
As a father and leader, he could be stern. But he also loved to play jokes. He enjoyed watching the Florida Gators and the Bucs play, and was fascinated with World War II history. He especially adored spy novels and James Bond movies.
“He named me after Sean Connery, who was one of his favorite actors,” said son, Sean Moré.
Raymond Moré loved seeing the world. After he divorced his first wife, he wed Elva. They were married 49 years before his passing. She worked for Pan American World Airways, and the couple used standby tickets to see the world with their children. They’d jet off to London for the weekend, or go on family ski trips in Austria.
He took care of people, always.
“He was a good son to my parents, especially toward the end when my father had a stroke and was in a nursing home,” Ennis said. “He handled everything and arranged for someone to pick him up and bring him to the bakery once a week so he could visit.”
Raymond Moré worked into his early 70s before passing the bakery to the next generation. He continued to use his hands, fearlessly helping his family renovate their houses and passing along his knowledge.
“He’s the kind of guy who could make a gourmet meal and he could build a home. He had so much talent,” Sean Moré said. “He built a car from scratch. It was just amazing what he could do.”
After suffering a bad fall, Raymond Moré struggled to accept that he couldn’t do as much of what he loved, like climbing ladders and driving fast cars. But he still stopped by the bakery. He still saw his son every weekend, enjoying donuts with the family during the last visit. He spent his final night watching the Bucs play.
“When I told my neighbor who grew up across the street from us, she said she remembers him coming down the driveway with his dark black hair in a sports car,” Ennis said. “And I said, ‘Good, keep that memory.”
That’s how Raymond Moré would want to be remembered.