Raymond Goldberg, 89, of Penn Valley, a former owner of Penn Maid Foods Inc., known for its cottage cheese and sour cream, died Wednesday, Aug. 21, of heart failure at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Goldberg came from a family that operated a regional dairy business in Philadelphia starting in 1927. His father, Harry, began by selling milk out of a horse-drawn carriage, and added cottage cheese and sour cream when his brothers Moe and Burt joined the enterprise.
In the 1950s, Mr. Goldberg and his brother, Jack, bought out Moe and Burt, using money he had saved by driving a taxi, selling pots and pans, and living with his parents while in college.
Under the direction of Raymond and Jack Goldberg, the company grew rapidly. The manufacturing site expanded from a rowhouse at Marshall and Thompson Streets to encompass half a city block.
By the early 1970s, Penn Maid had outgrown its plant. The Goldberg brothers were eyeing a potential site in Morristown, N.J., when the Rizzo administration, hoping to keep the company in town, arranged for a 14-acre property on Red Lion Road to become a new Penn Maid dairy facility. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offered financing at a low interest rate.
In 1973, Penn Maid broke ground on the new plant in the Far Northeast. With increased production capacity, Penn Maid became the leading regional dairy brand, said his daughter, Robin Robbins. It outperformed other national companies in sales of cottage cheese, sour cream, and dairy-based dips.
In 1980, Mr. Goldberg bought out his brother. With Harry Goldberg as chairman, Mr. Goldberg as president and CEO, his son, Rick, as executive vice president, and, later, his daughter Robin as marketing director, the business continued to prosper.
“In contrast to the many Philadelphia-area dairy companies that have long since folded to giants like Sealtest and Kraft, Penn Maid Foods Inc. still flies proudly the independent family colors of the smiling cow, Queenie,” Terry Bivens wrote in 1992 for JOC.com, a business website. “Queenie is family, too; that was the nickname of Harry’s late wife, Blanche.”
When Mr. Goldberg sold Penn Maid to Crowley Foods in 1996, the company had annual sales of over $250 million, Robbins said. Penn Maid is now owned by H.P. Hood LLC.
Born in Philadelphia in 1930, Mr. Goldberg grew up during the Great Depression.
“While his father had a steady job driving a truck for Penn Maid, Ray always had a strong sense of responsibility about money,” his daughter said. “He had no tolerance for wasting money.”
He graduated from Overbrook High School in 1948 and Temple University in 1951 before serving in the Army Reserve until 1954.
Throughout his life, he had a passion for tennis, and played four times a week until the age of 89. He and his wife, Ellen Ross Goldberg, donated the tennis center at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr so that students might learn the game.
In the 1980s, he and his wife established the Raymond and Ellen Goldberg Foundation, which gives grants.
Mr. Goldberg volunteered on behalf of the food industry. He was a 10-year member of the board for the Academy of Food Marketing at St. Joseph’s University and a member of the Tri-State Dairy Deli Association.
He and his wife donated money to Temple, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Abramson Cancer Center, and the Abramson Center for Jewish Life.
“He felt it was his responsibility to leave the world a little better place than how he found it,” his daughter said.
Besides his wife, daughter, and son, he is survived by a daughter, Amy Goldberg; four grandchildren; a great-grandchild; and two sisters. A daughter, Wendy Lamb, died earlier.
Services were Sunday, Aug. 25. Shivah will be observed Tuesday, Aug. 27, at the Robbins residence beginning at 3 p.m., with minyan at 7 p.m.