Monday, 1 September 2008

Carl Nicholas Karcher

Carl Nicholas Karcher - Founder, Chairman and CEO o/t Carl's Jr. Hamburger Chain

Carl Nicholas Karcher, SMOM (January 16, 1917 – January 11, 2008) was the American founder of the Carl's Jr. hamburger chain, now owned by parent company CKE Restaurants, Inc.

Born on a farm near Upper Sandusky, Ohio, Karcher was the son of Ohio natives Leo and Anna Maria (Kuntz) Karcher. Leo Karcher's grandparents had immigrated from Belgium; Anna Maria Kuntz was of German ancestry. Carl N. Karcher moved to Anaheim, California, where his uncle ran a small business. He was hired by his uncle and worked for him for three years, later he dropped that job to work at a bakery as a delivery boy which doubled his salary monthly. He married Margaret Magdalen Heinz Karcher in 1939.[1]

Karcher and his wife started their first business, a hot dog stand, on July 17, 1941 in Los Angeles, California when they borrowed $311 against their Plymouth automobile and added $15 from Margaret's purse.[2] The stand initially sold hot dogs and Mexican tamales. On January 16, 1945, they opened their first restaurant, Carl's Drive-In Barbecue in Anaheim.[3]

Their restaurant quickly grew and they opened several more restaurants, numbering 100 by 1974 and more than 300 by 1981. He served for a time as Chairman and CEO of the company.

He has been awarded the Horatio Alger Award for outstanding individual initiative and commitment to excellence while assisting those less fortunate.

On January 16, 2007, which was his 90th birthday, Karcher and his deceased wife Margaret were recognized with the placement of a star on the Anaheim/Orange County Walk of Stars.[4]

His son Jerome Karcher, who is a priest for the Orange County Diocese, has recently received the Man of Character Award from the Boy Scouts of America for creating mercy houses in Orange County for the homeless and those with AIDS.

Karcher died on January 11, 2008 from complications of Parkinson's Disease.[5]

Political activities

Karcher had been a lifelong supporter of Conservative causes and contributed to several anti-abortion and anti-gay initiatives.[6]

Karcher was an early supporter of John Schmitz, a right-wing Republican and member of the John Birch Society who represented Orange County in the state senate and later Congress.

In 1978, he provided $1 million dollars to California's Proposition 6, also known as the Briggs Initiative. He was the initiative's biggest financial supporter. The proposition was a ballot measure requiring the termination of all gays and lesbians from employment in public schools. The initiative was defeated by over one million votes.
1981 * Pope John XXIII Award from the Italian Catholic Federation for “best exemplifying benevolent, philosophical and charitable principles.”


1976 * Carl was Knighted into the Order of Malta, one of the highest honors a layperson of the Catholic Church can attain. (Proof Positive)

Bishop Tod Brown (left) and Father Jerome Karcher (right) lead Carl Karcher's funeral procession into St. Boniface Catholic Church. (Aron Bender/KFI NEWS)


Father Jerome Karcher, the son of Carl Karcher celebrated the mass for father's funeral at St. Boniface Catholic Church.


A flag flies at half-mast at a Carl's Jr. restaurant down the street from St. Boniface Catholic Church where a funeral mass was held for the fast-food restaurant chain's founder. (Proof Positive II)

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