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Kevin Murphy, founder of Baldor Specialty Foods, dies at 58

Kevin S. Murphy, chief executive officer and owner of Baldor Specialty Foods headquartered in the Hunts Point section of New York City, died Jan. 31 at the New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 58.

Mr. Murphy began his food career in the 1980s at Balducci's in Greenwich Village when he married Ria Balducci, daughter of the gourmet retail store's owner, Andrew Balducci. He was trained in every department, learning the food business from the ground up. Kevin-MurphyKevin MurphyHe expanded and finally took over Balducci's small wholesale division called "Baldor" in 1991.

Mr. Murphy moved the company to a tiny warehouse in the Long Island City section of Queens, NY, and ran the operation with one van and a couple of delivery trucks. The company grew incrementally from there. Soon after, it moved to a larger facility in Maspeth, NY, where more staff and trucks were added.

In 2000, Mr. Murphy took over a large facility on Barry Street in the Bronx, NY, near the Hunts Point Market. In 2007 an opportunity arose for Mr. Murphy to take occupancy of an abandoned city-owned warehouse in the South Bronx. The 188,000-square-foot facility sits on seven acres on the Hunts Point peninsula. He had the building gutted and redesigned, and he added dozens of trucks to service the tri-state area with Baldor's line of fine specialty foods.

In 2006 Baldor opened a facility in Chelsea, MA, naming it Baldor Boston.

In October 2012, Michael Muzyk, president of Baldor Specialty Foods, told The Produce News that the company was making some major changes at its Boston facility.

"We are demolishing a portion of a building in Boston that is just around the corner in Chelsea, about a block away from our existing facility," said Mr. Muzyk. "When it is completed, we'll be moving our entire Boston operation to it. Our existing landlord is building the new facility out for us. He came to the table and said he didn't want to lose us as a client."

The company plans to have the new facility operational in March.

In 2012 Baldor also opened a branch just outside Washington, DC. Mr. Muzyk said that the company sends a trailer to the location every day primarily to service restaurants, noting, "It is cross-dock operation. These foodservice operators now have the pleasure of being serviced with our wide selection of products, including our processed items."

Today Baldor delivers throughout most of New England, all of the tri-state area and the mid-Atlantic region. The company currently employs over 800 employees and operates a fleet of over 200 delivery trucks.

A Feb. 2 press release issued by Baldor called Mr. Murphy "a true visionary with a life philosophy of hard work and caring for people that was felt by all whom he touched."

Mr. Murphy is survived by his mother Marilyn Murphy; brothers, Thomas D. Murphy Jr. and Patrick Murphy; a sister, Sharon Triolo; a son, TJ Murphy, and a daughter-in-law, Christine Murphy.

Donations in Mr. Murphy's memory can be made to The Robert L. Fine Cancer Research Fund, 650 West 168th Street, BB20-05. New York, NY 10032, with checks or money orders made payable to the New York Presbyterian Home; memo line: 'Dr Fine's Research Fund; or the Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer, 111 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage, NY 11714, with checks or money orders made to Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer.