GARDEN CITY, NY — Superior Materials Inc. announced that Frederick Kafka passed away Saturday, January 29, at the age of 97 due to complications from COVID-19.
Born in Vienna, Austria, Kafka immigrated to the United States with his family in 1938. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 during World War II and was in battle in various campaigns in Italy, including the PO Valley Campaign. Among many decorations, he received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Upon his return to New York, he completed his degree in chemical engineering from Columbia University and joined Superior Materials Inc. in 1948 as an Engineer, working alongside his father-in-law Benjamin Joachim and brother-in-law Meyer Budman. The three of them at the helm of Superior were true pioneers in developing the industrial use of kaolin and attapulgite clay among other raw materials. The Superior team invented the name ASP®, which is known globally as the hydrous nomenclature for what is now the Kaolin group of BASF.
Kafka along with Meyer built Superior’s sales, and the company grew. Later on, both of Kafka’s sons and Meyer’s son joined the business. Today, it has evolved into a fourth-generation, privately held chemical distributor covering 26 states for a variety of specialty chemicals. Kafka was actively involved in multiple trade associations and for years provided photographs for various publications of meetings and outings as a volunteer. He worked for well over 50 years at Superior and remained interested in the business for the remainder of his life. He leaves his wife of over 75 years, Mindy, three children, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. He received a Paint Pioneer award from the MNYCA years ago and was very active in the organization. He had a reputation for being honest, intelligent, and a true pioneer in the field of raw materials.
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