NJ mourns Steve Kalafer, owner of Somerset Patriots, Flemington Car & Truck Country
One of New Jersey's most prominent citizens — businessman, philanthropist and movie producer Steve Kalafer — died Wednesday. He was 71.
Kalafer, easily recognized in a crowd with his sharp attire, thick-framed glasses and gregarious smile, was the longtime owner and CEO of Flemington Car & Truck Country, which since the the early 1970s grew into a car-dealership empire.
He also was the founding owner of the Somerset Patriots baseball team in Bridgewater, which this year became a Double-A Minor League affiliate of the New York Yankees.
Kalafer served on the RWJBarnabas Health Board of Trustees, was chairman emeritus of Somerset Health Care Foundation and served as a New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance trustee.
He also was a movie producer, earning three Oscar nominations for Best Documentary Shorts.
In 2020, he was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in a class with Garden State icons that included "The Addams Family" creator Charles Addams, Rutgers women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer and Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman.
New Jersey Business & Industry Association President and CEO Michele Siekerka said Kalafer, who served as a trustee for the group from 1994 to 2016, was full of "passion, energy and knowledge."
“Steve was many things to many people across the state and beyond," she said. "He embodied the true spirit of entrepreneurship through his many impactful endeavors that boosted New Jersey’s economy, all while dedicating himself to corporate stewardship and philanthropy with incomparable enthusiasm."
Services have not been announced.