- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - Dick Spady, the co-founder of Dick’s Drive-In whose string of classic burger joints have become a beloved ritual for many in the Seattle area, has died. He was 92.

Spady died of natural causes in Seattle on Sunday, said Jasmine Donovan, his granddaughter and company spokeswoman.

“He was a wonderful man, an icon in the city,” she said Tuesday. “He represents so much for our company and our industry and our city, and he’ll be missed.”

Spady and two partners opened the first of seven restaurants in 1954 in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood offering 19-cent burgers and 10-cent Cokes. They had a simple business goal: “to serve fresh, high quality food at low prices with instant service.” One in Bellevue closed.

Over the years, they opened four more fast-food restaurants in Seattle, one in Bellevue that later closed, and the most recent one in Edmonds in 2011. Spady bought out his business partners in 1991.

“We wouldn’t have lasted a week, let alone 60 years without you!” Spady wrote to his customers on the company’s website in 2013, when he turned 90. “Ever since we opened our doors on Jan. 28, 1954, you’ve embraced us with your support and loyalty.”

Born in Portland, Oregon, Spady served in the Navy in World War II. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1950 with a business degree and served in Japan during the Korean War.

Spady worked as a commissary officer at Itazuke Air Base, where he was responsible for feeding thousands of troops, Seattlepi.com reported (https://goo.gl/pcKM7m ). Spady ultimately retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He is survived by his wife and five children, as well as several grandchildren and great grandchildren.


This story has been updated to correct that there were a total of seven restaurants.

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