ST. LOUIS – Wilbur Hardee, founder of Hardee’s Restaurants, passed away Friday. He was 89.

Hardee opened the first Hardee’s quick-service restaurant in September 1960 in Greenville, N.C. He had not been directly involved with the company for many years, but had been invited to participate in the chain’s fortieth anniversary. Hardee’s was bought by Carl’s Jr. owner CKE Restaurants Inc. in the 1990s.

Between 1949 and 1991, he began 85 different restaurants throughout the Southeast, long after leaving the QSR chain he helped found and gave his name to.

Arrangements are being made by Wilkerson Funeral Home & Crematory. A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Helen Galloway Hardee; daughters, Ann Hardee Riggs, Mary Kathryn Hardee Baker, and Becky Hardee Eissens; step-daughter, Patricia Vernon Phelps; grandchildren Gregory Lee Riggs, Scottie Smith, the Rev. Marcus L. Riggs, James Wesley Riggs, James William Hodges, Yvonne Hardee Moore, Skylar Alexis Stox and Sierra Grace Stox; and nine great-grandchildren.


Source: CKE Restaurants Inc.