Paul Gordon, chairman of family-owned Gordon Food Service (GFS), has died after a brief battle with cancer. He was 84.
GFS, which was founded in 1897, is North America's largest private foodservice distributor with revenues of $5.9 billion.
Born on 13 July 1923 in Grand Rapids, Michigan (pictured), Paul was the first son of Ben and Ruth Gordon. At the time, Ben was working for his father-in-law, Isaac, in the family grocery wholesaling business.
After serving in the US Navy during World War II, Paul succeeded his father as president of GFS in 1965. His brother, John, became secretary-treasurer and together they initiated many industry innovations, including state-of-art warehouse technology.
According to a statement released by GFS, Paul was deeply committed to defining the philosophical direction of the company. His integrity and genuine concern for each employee and their families established a company culture that still defines GFS today, it continued.
Dave Gray, GFS board member said, "Paul Gordon is the ultimate example of how we should live our lives. He has touched the lives of so many of us with his warmth, humbleness and generosity. The balance Paul maintained between his God, his family, his community and his business is a lesson for all of us."
After 26 years as president, Paul Gordon stepped down in 1990 and joined the board as chairman. He passed the leadership of the family business to his son, Dan.
He is survived by Dorothy, his wife of nearly 60 years, three siblings, his four children, 16 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.