We are deeply saddened to inform you that Allen I. Bildner, born August 16, 1926, in Maspeth, New York, passed away on February 5, 2015. Allen was married for 64 years to Joan Lebson Bildner, who predeceased him.
Allen and Joan were the visionaries who founded the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers in 1996. Their generosity and leadership were honored by Rutgers in 1999 when the university bestowed on them its Medal of Philanthropic Excellence.
Allen was the former Chair and CEO of Kings Super Markets, a family-owned company for 52 years until its 1988 sale to Marks and Spencer. He was also a past chair of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the supermarket industry's national and global trade association, and a founder and past chair of the New Jersey Food Council. In 2002, Allen was named by Supermarket News as one of the 50 visionary food industry leaders of the last 50 years.
Allen and Joan’s strong commitment to promoting understanding between different cultures and ethnic groups and to reducing prejudice has been one of the guiding principles of the Bildner Center’s diverse programs and educational initiatives. The founding of the Bildner Center led to the establishment of the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University and has contributed to the renaissance of Jewish life on campus. It has also made a major impact on Jewish cultural life in the community.
Allen was a respected leader in the Jewish and secular communities, serving on numerous nonprofit as well as for-profit boards including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the Maltz Jupiter (Fla.) Theatre, Yankee Sports and Entertainment Network (YES), New Jersey Bell and Seton Hall University. Allen received numerous community and industry honors, as well as awards from Dartmouth College, from which he graduated and from where he received an MBA. His honors include the Dartmouth Alumni Award, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Lifetime Achievement Award of Dartmouth College, the Charles Evans Hughes Humanitarian Award of the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ) and honorary doctorates, along with Joan Bildner, from Bloomfield College and Rowan University.
Allen is survived by his loving children, sons Rob and Jim, daughters-in-law Elisa and Nancy, and grandchildren Elana, Lizzie, Ari, Eli and Rafi. He is also survived by his sister, Phyllis Schechter, and is predeceased by a grandson, Peter. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the communities in New Jersey and Florida where he lived, worked, and served.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations may be made in his memory to the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, Rutgers University, 12 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901; the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington, DC 20024; and the Maltz Theater, 1001 E. Indiantown Rd., Jupiter, FL 33477.