Art Oberto, beloved entrepreneur of Kent’s snack sausage-making giant, died Aug. 26 in Seattle. He was 95.
Ten years ago, Oberto wielded a hammer and nail between a break for cake on his 85th birthday and storytelling as helped the company restore homes in Federal Way with Habitat for Humanity.
“I can do everything I used to do, but not as well,” Oberto said in the Aug. 30, 2012 Kent Reporter. “I’m still up, getting around, and that’s half the battle.”
Constantino Oberto founded the company in 1918 in Seattle before Oberto moved its headquarters in 1978 to Kent. In 1997, Oberto built a new 100,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing plant in Kent to replace a smaller facility. In 2018, Obeto was sold to British Columbia-based Premium Brands Holdings, but the headquarters and manufacturing remained in Kent.
“Help others succeed … and be humble,” Art Oberto said in the 2012 interview.
Art Oberto took the helm of the company at 16, following the death of his father. With perseverance and determination, Oberto grew the company from a fledgling family business in Pike Place Market into a national firm.
In 2018, the city of Kent renamed a short section of South 238th Street to Oberto Drive in honor of the jerky company’s 100th anniversary.
“Our sincerest condolences to the Oberto Beef Jerky family for the loss of Art Oberto,” according to a city of Kent Facebook post. “Mr. Oberto was always involved and strong pillar to the Kent community. His leadership, hard work and amazing sense of humor will forever be missed in the lives he touched.”