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Murray Raphel, who brought not just an expertise in direct marketing but an unbridled pass and enthusiasm to his speeches and writings on the subject, has passed away. He was 91.

For two decades, Murray was a fixture at the annual Food Marketing Institute (FMI) convention, strolling onstage wearing a big smile and a tuxedo to offer example-filled and anecdote-laden presentations about marketing and selling and customer service. He also spoke at events around the country and throughout the world, sharing business insights and experiences.

Murray also was a co-founder of New Jersey’s first pedestrian shopping mall, Gordon's Alley, in Atlantic City, and worked as the marketing force behind the 35 stores there. And, he wrote more than ten books on marketing, advertising, and promotion, as well as his autobiography, "Murray Raphel Remembers.”

Among his survivors is his wife of 68 years, Ruth Raphel, who served as an active partner in Murray’s various business ventures.

KC's View:
I first met Murray more than 30 years ago, and found him to be a source of constant encouragement, enormous charm, and seemingly boundless energy. He could be as force of nature, and was a great storyteller … I have very specific memories about his telling me a story (probably 20 years ago) about how, in his role as a civic leader in Atlantic City (a place he loved), he had an unpleasant encounter with a New York real estate mogul who was building casinos and hotels there and who wanted a plethora of concessions from the city that Murray worked hard - and successfully - to block. He took considerable pleasure in that.

I also remember being in San Francisco to speak at a conference at which Murray also was speaking, and how he insisted one evening that he knew this great little Chinese restaurant where they served the most amazing shrimp dish, and that we all had to go. So we grabbed a cab and went to Hunan Home’s on Jackson Street in Chinatown, where we had, among other dishes, a prawns with honey walnuts dish that was, in fact, amazing. I remember it being an evening at which Murray held court, which we were happy to let him do, because it meant that there were going to be constant stories and plenty of business lessons.

I return to Hunan Home’s frequently when I get to San Francisco, and the prawns remain excellent, as are all of my memories of Murray Raphel.