GRAND RAPIDS Mich. Paul Gordon, chairman of Gordon Food Service, died Tuesday after a brief bout with cancer, the family-owned distribution company said. He was 84.
Gordon grew up in the business, watching his father struggle to keep the company afloat during the Great Depression. After serving on a Navy destroyer during World War II, he earned a business degree from the University of Michigan in 1948 and joined Gordon Food Service, or GFS, at his father’s request. In 1965, he succeeded his father, Ben, as president, and served in that capacity until he surrendered the post to his son Dan in 1990.
Arepresentative of GFS said Gordon passed away peacefully at home.
“Paul Gordon is the ultimate example of how we should live our lives,” said Dave Gray, a member of GFS’ board. “He has touched the lives of so many of us with his warmth, humbleness and generosity.”
B. Joseph White, another GFS director and the president of the University of Illinois, said “I have never known anyone who achieved so much and was also loved by so many."
In addition to his son Dan, Gordon is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Dorothy; a second son, Jim; daughters Connie and Joyce; 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.