Philip Bluefeld, 73, retired president of the Bluefeld Caterer, died early yesterday at Sinai Hospital after a long illness.
Services were being held today at the Beth El Congregation, 8101 Park Heights Ave.
Mr. Bluefeld lived in the One Slade Condominium. He retired in 1984 after the sale of the kosher catering business, which his mother had started in 1937.
Bluefeld Caterer handled political, social and charitable gatherings at its own halls, as well as serving food in armories and tents from the Baltimore-Washington area to New York City and Florida.
The company opened the Blue Crest on Reisterstown Road in northwest Baltimore in 1955 and added the Blue Crest North on the same road in Pikesville in 1959.
Mr. Bluefeld created many of the dishes served by the company, including a sauteed boneless breast of chicken filled with a mushroom stuffing and covered with a mushroom gravy. In the early 1970s, he opened a carry-out shop, the Butler's Pantry, at the Blue Crest North.
Two brothers of Mr. Bluefeld also were active in the business.
The company held an annual Passover Seder for patients at state hospitals.
Mr. Bluefeld was chairman of the committee that opened the Hillel House kosher dining room at the College Park campus of the University of Maryland.
A Baltimore native, Mr. Bluefeld attended City College. He founded the Beth El Congregation and was named man of the year by its Men's Club in 1963. He was a member of the Menorah Lodge of B'nai B'rith, St. John's Lodge of the Masons and the Save-A-Heart Foundation.
His first wife, the former Ethel Witt, died in 1973.
Survivors include his wife, the former Rebecca Vinokur Miller; a son, Brian Bluefeld of Owings Mills; a daughter, Honey Litman of Pikesville; two stepdaughters, Benita Lamont of Pikesville and Patricia Taback of Coral Springs, Fla.; two brothers, Louis Bluefeld of Boca Raton, Fla., and David Bluefeld of Brandon, Fla.; a sister, Freda Cohen of Bethesda; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
The family suggested memorial contributions to the Ner Israel Rabbinical College.