Pete and Kermit were born into a family of hunting and fishing guides on an island in eastern North Carolina. As Pete was older, he went away to college in Greensboro where Kermit later joined him to complete his education and start his business career. A chance encounter Kermit had with a local doctor started the idea of a flavor company. At first Southern Flavors was just part-time work, selling flavors to the government and to local bakeries. However, in 1946 he decided to pursue the business full-time. Kermit worked for several years to get the company up to the point where he could bring in his brother Pete, whom had already established a reputation as a successful businessman. Pete’s organizational skills and Kermit’s sales ability blended perfectly in getting the new company off to a successful start.
In 1955, the name was changed to Mother Murphy’s Laboratories and selling flavors to the baking industry became the main focus. As their business and reputation grew, they became active in many of the industry associations. Pete and Kermit Murphy were always ambassadors for the baking industry in words and action. Kermit was a fifty-year member of the American Society of Baking. Pete and Kermit were also some of the first allied industry members that were included in the American Bakers Association meeting that had previously excluded the allied trades. As a result of those successful meetings, the Allied Trades are now being treated as valuable partners in the baking industry. During Kermit’s tenure as National Allied Trades President he attended every state and regional baking association in person to promote the National Allied Trades Association and the baking industry’s national meetings.
Following the death of Kermit Murphy II; the Murphy family helped establish a scholarship fund with the Cookie and Snack Bakers Association. This trust fund was established so that member company’s employees could receive financial aid for their children to pursue higher education. To date over 250 scholarships have been awarded in Kermit’s name. In 2002, CASBA recognized Kermit Murphy as the Man of the Year and followed that up with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 for Mother Murphy’s five decades of support and leadership to the CASBA organization.
Mother Murphy’s Laboratories throughout its development and expansion remains a family business that is dedicated to the baking industry. What started with inspiration and hard work in a small backroom of a drug store continues to grow and thrive today. Mother Murphy’s is now sixty-eight years strong and serves a host of industries including bakery, beverage, cereal & grain, confectionary, dairy, nutraceutical, pet food, pharmaceutical, and tobacco. Mother Murphy’s is truly a global business that ships products to over 30 countries around the world.
Click on the images below to view .pdf files of the inductee’s biography and plaque.