Obituary: Freida Gutlow Maisel

A remarkable American life came to a peaceful close on Sunday evening. Freida G. Maisel, 95, died in her home in her native Mobile. Freida lived many lives in nearly a century: daughter, wife, mother, teacher and businesswoman, all with her characteristic intelligence, charm, elegance and beauty. In 1973, Freida bought a small beverage wholesaler in Mobile, renamed it Gulf Distributing Company, and built the foundation of a business that now serves customers in six states and employs nearly 2,000 people. Freida became a member of the Committee of 200, a national organization of prominent businesswomen. She broke new ground and glass ceilings, all with a steel backbone wrapped in charm. Freida retired at the age of 70 and handed Gulf over to her son Elliot but she remained interested in and apprised of the business until her final days. In 2009, Frieda was honored with NBWA’s Life Service Award. And just last year, NBWA announced the establishment of the Freida G. Maisel Trailblazer Award.