ASHLAND, Ohio — Paul “Dick” Baum, the “Grandpa” for whom the widely popular Grandpa’s Cheesebarn is named, died Thursday at age 93, according to a Facebook post from the Ashland cheese shop.
Anyone who has driven the interstate south from Cleveland has likely seen the sign. In huge, hard-to-miss letters: “Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and Sweeties Chocolates.”
Those who decide to take Exit 185 on I-71 would be greeted with exactly what is advertised: a barn, filled with cheese, for years co-owned and operated by “Grandpa" Baum.
The beloved Ohio institution was founded in 1978 by Richard and Ronda Poorbaugh along with Baum, Ronda’s father, who put the Grandpa in Grandpa’s Cheesebarn. The barn, which was an actual dairy farm, was converted into the shop it is today, but kept the wooden barn floorboards that give it its charm and atmosphere.
Baum and his wife celebrated 73 years of marriage just last week on December 4.
Baum met "Grandma" in 1949, when he was a meat cutter in the back of a grocery store and he noticed the charming checkout girl out front.
“Her brother asked me one time to take her home, because he couldn’t take her home, and that was that,” he told News 5 seven years ago. At the time, his “sweetie” helped at Sweetie’s Chocolates, the candy store adjoining the barn.
“We’ve been blessed with their guidance & presence all these years. The Lord has a greater purpose & has called him home for Christmas,” the staff of the cheese shop wrote on Facebook Thursday. “Heaven gained a sweet smile, so say cheese & a prayer for our family.”
Baum was still working there at least at age 86 when News 5 stopped by as part of the “My Ohio” series in 2015.
"It keeps you young and it keeps you busy," he said at the time.
Employees assured their fans on Facebook that Grandpa’s Cheesebarn will continue on, so whether you’re looking for a hard-to-find cheese, a unique sweet treat, something spicy, or just a reason to stop on your next road trip, Grandpa’s Cheesebarn will still be there.
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