East Nashville residents and others across Nashville are mourning loss of Dan Einstein, 61, who died on December 16. He and his wife, Ellen, have owned the Sweet 16th Bakery and coffee shop in Lockland Springs since 2004, a place that opened before East Nashville became “hip.” Over the years, it became a gathering place for the neighborhood, a local center of the community.
A Connecticut native, Einstein moved to California with his family and began a fledgling career in the music business as a UCLA student booking on-campus concerts. He went on to an honored career in the business, working with the late John Prine and Steve Goodman on Red Pajamas and Oh Boy record labels.
Dan earned a Grammy in 1987 as co-producer of the Best Contemporary Folk Recording, “Tribute to Steve Goodman” that featured Bonnie Raitt, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Prine, among others. He also produced Prine’s 1988 “Live” album, Goodman’s “Unfinished Business” and a “Live from the Mountain Stage” series.
Many other artists recorded with Prine on Oh Boy including Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and Todd Snider.
Eventually, Dan decided to make a change as he left the music business and he and Ellen opened Sweet 16th, where they rose in the early morning hours to create baked goods happily consumed by their East Nashville neighbors. And in 2021, they were named “East Nashvillians of the Year” by the local East Nashvillian publication.
Dan was predeceased by his father, Ted Einstein, and his mother, Nedra LeVine Einstein. He is survived by his wife, Ellen (Krause) Einstein; sisters, Susan (Andrew) Richman and Loryn Einstein van den Berg (Mark); nephews, Joseph Richman and Garth Einstein; and niece, Amy Richman.
Once the news of Dan’s illness and move to Alive Hospice spread, a GoFundMe account was started for Ellen, and in a matter of days, had 1,600 donors, a testament to the high esteem the community feels for the couple.
Donations may be made to Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center Development to support the critical research work of Dr. Michael Savona, who pioneered CAR-T treatment in the South with Dan as his first patient https://give.vanderbilt.org/daneinstein. Checks may be mailed to: Vanderbilt University Medical Center Development, Gift and Donor Services, In Memory of Dan Einstein, 3222 West End Avenue, Suite 900, Nashville, TN 37203 (write “In Memory of Dan Einstein” on the check). Or donations may be made to Alive Hospice of Mashville at www.alivehospice.org/donate.
A celebration of life memorial will be held some time in the spring. To attend, send your contact information to Kevin Richman (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive updated information.