The baking community is saddened to learn that pie empire founder Vilmos ‘Vili’ Milisits has died aged 72 last Friday, March 26 in Sydney.
Vilis posted the news in a tribute to their “mentor” on their Facebook page on Saturday:
“The Australian word for Vili is opportunity,” they wrote.
“As the sun rose this morning we woke to the very sad news that our mentor had passed away with his family at his bedside.
“The strongest man we knew had lost his battle.
“The South Australian pastry king was so much more than that to all who knew him. Hungarian by birth, Aussie by choice. A very passionate human being.
“On behalf of the Milisits family, management and staff we share this devastating news but promise to continue with his legacy.
“His name will forever be displayed on his world class products.
“His name will forever be in our hearts.
“Vili and his Family would like to thank the St Vincents Public Hospital and their Lung Transplant Team for giving Vili the opportunity to participate in the program. Unfortunately his health was already severely compromised and was unable to recover from the surgery.
“We would also like to acknowledge and thank the donor and their family at this time, as we realise that they are sharing and experiencing the same sadness we are.
From the team at Vili’s Family Bakery, we sincerely appreciate your messages of support. For now, the family need some time for peace. We will communicate any necessary information in due course.”
Vilis Pies is a household name for many Aussies, and it is nearly impossible to hear the name without singing the brand’s jingle.
The Milisits family moved to Australia from Hungary as refugees in 1956, and Vili left school aged 14 to work at a cake shop in Burnside, before starting his own venture on Manchester Street in Mile End, where the original Cafe de Vilis is now.
The company now exports pies and other baked goods to countries around the world.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall sent his “heartfelt condolences” to Mrs Milisits.
“Vili and Rosemary have employed hundreds of South Australians and have generously given back to the community as proud supporters of charities, community sport and the arts,” he said.
“Vili was a passionate businessman with a tremendous work ethic. He will be missed by many.”