San Francisco Chronicle

Baker killed in robbery donates organs

- By Annie Vainshtein Reach Annie Vainshtein: avainshtei­n@sfchronicl­ Twitter: @annievain

Nearly one week after an Oakland baker and activist was dragged to her death in a violent daylight robbery, a group of medical profession­als were joined by her loved ones for a special ceremony marking what would be her final contributi­on to the world: her heart.

The owner of Angel Cakes, Jen Angel, spent three days on life support last week after a tragic encounter with robbers who smashed her car window in the parking lot of an Oakland Wells Fargo. As she ran after the speeding car, she was caught in the vehicle’s door and dragged. She died Thursday evening, and left behind a large community of devastated friends and a fiance.

On Monday evening, the group honored her commitment to giving back through organ donorship with an “Honor Walk” — a procession from her hospital room to the operating room that included the reading of a statement about Angel’s life, and a moment of silence.

In the statement, her family wrote “it is fitting that Jen’s final act will be this one of generosity.”

“Jen Angel was a kind, loving, and generous person who had an incredible impact on many different kinds of people,” her family wrote. “She was a consummate builder of community, using every opportunit­y to bring people together and create a world based on love, dignity, and mutuality. It is a testament to her legacy that her closest circle here includes her immediate family and chosen family, people who have been with her for many years and love her dearly.”

Angel’s donation of her organs will help up to 70 people, her family wrote in a statement to The Chronicle. And as timing would have it, Feb. 14 is also National Donor Day.

“It is appropriat­e that someone gets Jen’s heart today, on Valentine’s Day,” said Pat Engel, Angel’s mother, in a statement. “The Honor Walk was so moving. To see the hospital staff and even police officers there saluting her. It meant so much.”

Angel created the famed Oakland cupcake business, Angel Cakes, in 2008 — and opened its retail shop near Jack London Square in 2016. Angel credited her mother with teaching her everything she knew about baking.

Before she became a full-time baker, Angel worked as a journalist in independen­t media, and also worked as a media strategist and political activist.

Oakland police officials did not respond to requests for comment about the attack, which they are investigat­ing as a homicide.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States