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Obituaries

Two Prominent Faces Behind Bagels and Coffee, Murray Lender (of Lender’s Bagels) and Sam Glazer (inventor of Mr. Coffee) Die at 81 and 89, Respectively

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Murray Lender led the transformation of his father’s bagels from a local wonder to a national breakfast necessity.Bagels and Coffee will never be the same.

In the last month, two Jewish men have died who, by exploring distinct business trajectories, helped to revolutionize the breakfast foods industry in the U.S. during the latter part of the twentieth century. More than fifth years ago, bagels were essentially unknown outside Jewish circles. In the 1970s, coffee had to either be percolated or stirred in water—neither of which methods were of particular effect in appeasing avid coffee drinkers.

To transform the bagel from an exclusively Jewish breakfast item (traditionally accompanied by lox and cream cheese) into a national food product, Murray Lender and his brothers emerged on the scene in the 1960s.

To facilitate the consumption of good coffee, Samuel Glazer, along with his lifelong comrade, Vincent Marotta, consulted engineers who ultimately devised one of the first, and most popular, automatic drip coffee makers.

The brainchild of Lender’s efforts was Lender’s Bagels, the frozen, packaged bagels that are purported to have largely introduced Americans to bagels for the first time.

Mr. Coffee was the product of Glazer’s business venture. First marketed in 1972, Mr. Coffee held the majority of the coffee appliance market share for more than a decade.

Murray Lender was the child of Harry Lender, a Polish immigrant who started a bakery in his backyard after arriving in the U.S. in 1927. His children and wife would soon join him in the small-scale operation he ran in New Haven, Connecticut. Following their father’s death, Harry’s sons sought to market the bagels their fathers had toiled to make into a nationally branded company. The secret to their success was in the usage of freezers, which allowed the bagels to be preserved and shipped to cities and markets afar. Murray and his brother, Marvin, led the company—H. Lender & Sons—for years, and Murray achieved renown for the Lender’s commercials he participated in during the company’s later years. It was sold to Kraft Foods in 1984, and is currently owned and operated by Pinnacle Foods Group.

Glazer was born to Isador and Yetta Gross Glazer in Cleveland in 1923. He worked in real estate prior to entering the coffee industry with his partner, wherein they extended efforts that would produce Mr. Coffee.

According to multiple news reports, Glazer died in Cleveland after about with cancer. He was 89. Lender had incurred an injury that continued for ten weeks before his death. He died in Miami at the age of 81. 

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