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Caroline Ragsdale Reutter loved cakes, her community and her creative career, and her passion will inspire students with a love of the culinary arts, even after her passing.
She started her edible empire, Caroline’s Cakes, in Maryland and moved it to Spartanburg in 2012.
Caroline was famous for her seven-layer caramel cake, which was featured in the movie “The Help.”
The mail-order bakery’s creations have gotten attention from The Food Network, Oprah Winfrey and major magazines.
"She took a cake that was first served at my christening, into the basement of her home, into a nationwide business that's now well-respected. She did it because she loved it,” said Richard Reutter, Caroline’s youngest son and vice president of Caroline’s Cakes.
Caroline always said, “Eat cake, be happy,” and her company is making it easy to do that, even though she’s not around to witness it.
"She was just a dynamic individual. She's missed every day,” Reutter said.
Caroline died in July after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Her friends, Lee Ann and Dexter Cleveland, came up with the idea to start a scholarship fund to honor her memory.
The Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Memorial Scholarship will benefit culinary arts students at Spartanburg Community College.
"Most of our students are on financial aid, but it doesn't cover the entire part of their education, such as books, and the fees and the equipment that go along with the culinary department,” said Amy Byers, program chairwoman of the culinary department at Spartanburg Community College. "One of the biggest things we talk about in our field is being committed to the job and loving the job and spreading it to other people, and that seems to be the backbone of Caroline's business."
The Cleveland family gave the lead gift for the scholarship, but the hope is that others will donate to keep the fund going indefinitely.
“Knowing that we've got a little piece of Caroline here at Spartanburg Community College and it is making a direct impact on our culinary students, that's huge for us and we're very thankful,” said Bea Walters Smith, executive director of the SCC Foundation and Advancement.
To make a donation to the Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Memorial Scholarship, click here.
"The community that's been so supportive of us, for us to be able to give back in this way in Caroline's memory, really means a lot,” Reutter said.