CLEVELAND — Richard J. (Blos) Blum, who for many years led an equipment and engineering services firm for the commercial baking industry, has died. Mr. Blum, who also was the father of Jane Blum DeMarchi, president of the North American Millers’ Association, was 90.
A lifelong resident of Cleveland, Mr. Blum graduated from Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, and served as an officer in the US Marine Corps.
Mr. Blum’s roots in the grain-based foods industry ran deep. His grandfather Sol Blum in the 1890s established Blum Inc., a flour brokerage based in Cleveland. Roger Blum, Mr. Blum’s father, entered the business in the 1920s and over time shifted its focus from flour brokerage to bakery equipment and supplies, particularly flour-handling systems and foil pans. When Mr. Blum joined his father in the mid-1950s, Blum Inc. began selling ovens and other baking components, focusing on bakeries and in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
In the mid-1970s, Mr. Blum left Blum Inc. to establish Blossom Industries with a partner, Dale Kowalyk. Working as manufacturers’ representatives, Blossom Industries developed end-to-end manufacturing solutions that knitted together systems from the world’s leading equipment manufacturers. Blossom was particularly active in helping install in-store bakeries in supermarkets and the development of commissary-style manufacturing and distribution in the pizza industry. Its customers included Little Caesars, Domino’s Pizza and Aunt Millie’s. He was president of the business until retiring 10 years ago. He continued working on his own in the years that followed, overseeing major projects in the United States and the United Kingdom for I.J. White Systems and others before retiring again at the age of 87. Mr. Blum was a member of the American Society of Baking.
Mr. Blum is survived by his wife of 33 years, Harriet Warm; a son, Peter Blum; daughters, Anne Blum; Jane (John) DeMarchi; Elizabeth (Duncan) Lonsdale; Johanna Schupf; and Katherine Kim; 13 grandchildren and a brother, John (Kathy) Blum.