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San Antonio

Longtime President Of San Antonio-Based Kiolbassa Smoked Meats Dies At 84

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Joey Palacios
/
Texas Public Radio

The longtime general manager, president and CEO of Kiolbassa Smoked Meats died Tuesday at the age of 84. Robert Kiolbassa ran the company from 1960 to this year.

His father, Rufus, founded the company in 1949 and Robert started work there at the age of 21.

An obituary on the company's Facebook page describes him as a hard worker that started most days at 5 a.m. He would go the sausage plant in the middle of the night to take sausage out of the smokehouse.

He is credited with expanding the product line and being a generous donor to the community.

When his father became ill with brain cancer, Robert left St. Mary’s University to take over the family business and provided for his mother and younger sister while supporting his own growing family.

He introduced several new items such as dry-cured bacon and smoked hams and expanded into cattle and hog processing.

The company obit reads he was an engineer without an engineering degree and could literally take apart anything and put it back together. Before he expanded the business into cattle and hog processing, he was the maintenance man in the company.

Robert is described as a generous man who had a big heart. He never turned anyone down for a donation or anyone that needed help. His generosity set the foundation for our company’s legacy of giving back to the community.

The company's purpose statement is “We exist to enrich lives."

He is survived by his wife Linda, children Kathy, Michael, Julie and Amy, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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