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March 25, 2012 3:30 pm

Bagel Pioneer Dies at 81

avatar by Lakkana Nanayakkara

Murray Lender. Photo: Carl Lender via Flickr.

Bagel pioneer, Murray Lender, died at his home in Florida last week aged 81, after a fall.

He was known for transforming his father’s small bakery in Connecticut, New Haven into the largest bagel bakery in the world, expanding the popularity of bagels beyond the Jewish community – who usually ate them with lox [smoked salmon] and cream cheese – into a “breakfast staple for Americans nationwide.”

His company, Lender’s Bagels was the first to transport frozen bagels so they would reach areas outside the state of New Haven without becoming stale. He was also responsible for the creation of specialized bagel products including “green bagels for St.Patrick’s Day and Oval bagels for President Lydon B.Johnson to eat in the Oval office.”

After the business was sold to Kraft Foods in 1984, Murray remained on as the company spokesman. His wife, Gillie, described him as “…courageous, strong and an example to everyone to show how one should go through life with a vision, ambition, a goal and with success.”

Lender’s Bagels which is “now owned by the Pinnacle Foods Group, had revenue of $40.9 million last year from the sale of 23.4 million six-bagel packages.”

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