The food industry lost a mentor, friend, and enthusiastic supporter last week. Christopher William Luke—former group publisher overseeing Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, Candy Industry, and other BNP Media publications—passed away shortly after a cancer diagnosis, while traveling with family in Spokane, WA.
Former Candy Industry and Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery Group Publisher Chris Luke, right; and former Editor-in-Chief Bernie Pacyniak, left; pose with 2017 Kettle Award recipients Sara and Pierson Clair at the Union League Club in Chicago.
Over the course of his 35-year career in trade publishing, Luke served in several leadership positions for a number of companies and publications. Luke first joined BNP Media as regional sales manager for the East Coast in August 2014, then was promoted to publisher of SF&WB just two months later. During his tenure, he improved the organization and overall strategy for the publication, encouraging the growth and career development of staff serving under him.
Luke was born November 28, 1964 in Orange, NJ to Jeanette Metz Luke and William Luke Jr. His early childhood was spent in New Jersey before his family moved to the northern Chicago suburb of Deerfield, IL. He had a lifelong passion for baseball (both playing, and as a supporter of the Chicago Cubs and local teams) that began in childhood and continued throughout his life. He met his wife Jeanne (Power) in Chicago, and they married in 1991. She and Luke raised three children in Stewartsville, NJ, where he was an active member of the community, serving on the Board of Education for the Greenwich Township School District and Stewartsville Recreation Commission Board, coaching various sports teams, and supporting other initiatives. In 2022, Luke and his wife Jeanne built their dream home in Harbeson, DE, where he retired in 2022 to enjoy a slower coastal lifestyle and befriend new neighbors.
Former Group Publisher Chris Luke, far right, with Food Safety Magazine staff during a Food Safety Summit dinner event.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Jeanne (Power); son Ryan and his wife Jill of Windsor, PA; daughter Haley, of Chicago, IL; daughter Maggie and her fiance Eddie of Montclair, NJ; mother Jeanette; brother Steve and his wife Katsura of Phoenix, AZ; and numerous nieces and nephews and grandnephew.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his memory to one of his favorite causes: the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, cff.org/donate or the Joseph Calello Melanoma Fund, f4mmc.org. To read more about his life, or to share condolences or memories of your own, view the obituary here.