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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Southern Maid Donuts

ORAL HISTORY

Lon Hargrove


Southern Maid Donut and Flour Company

Born in 1933, Lon Hargrove is the son of Southern Maid Donuts founders J.B. and Rosalee Hargrove. He remembers first selling donuts at twelve years old in South and East Dallas to fundraise for his Boy Scout Troop. By fourteen, he had his own checking and savings account, and he was delivering donuts after school in his mother’s 1949 Oldsmobile. He credits his father’s loyal delivery truck route customers and sharp sales acumen, along with his mother’s original donut recipe and handmade baking, for the family’s worldwide franchise success.

The processes, equipment, and manufacturing have progressed over time, but Rosalee’s homemade secret ingredients for the original glazed donut, separating the yolks, mixing flour with water, and blending shortening with sugar, have not changed since the business was established in 1937. Lon was a student and later fighter pilot instructor at Webb Air Force Base in Big Springs, Texas in the 1950s and 1960s. During those years, he flew Bonanza airplanes. Channelling his family’s donut business, Hargrove’s call sign was “Dunker.” Hargrove continued working at Southern Maid throughout his time in the Air Force. A true family owned and operated company, Lon’s niece, nephew, and their children work together to continue the business.

Date of interview:
2021-09-17

Interviewer:
Jaime Cantrell

Photographer:
Cooper Neill

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