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Dave Thomas

Born: 1932-07-02 - Died: 2002-01-08
Cause of Death:
Liver Cancer


Death Summary: David “Dave” Thomas died after a decade long battle with liver cancer. He is interred at Union Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.

At the time of his passing Wendy’s had more than 6,000 restaurants open in just North America.

Who was Dave Thomas : Thomas is best known for founding the fast food chain Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers.

Thomas never graduated from high school, he dropped out when he was only 15 so he could focus on his job as busboy at the Hobby House restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It’s at that same restaurant he would meet his future wife.

Around the time of Korean War Thomas volunteered for the U.S. Army, rather waiting for his inevitably draft into service… and so he could choose his own assignment. Having some experience in the food industry he chose the Cook’s and Baker’s School at Fort Benning, Georgia. After his completion of his training he was sent over seas.

He credits his time in the U.S. Army for his later success in the fast food industry, as he was a mess sergeant. His daily role was feeding over 2,000 hungry soldiers.

After his honorably discharge in 1953, Thomas was offered the chance to work hand-and-hand with restaurant icon Col. Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. After some initial assessments Thomas believed the men was a bit bulky, coming in at over 100 items. The two proceeded to prune the menu down to what we know today.

He didn’t hang around KFC much longer; he had aspirations of his own burger joint.

Thomas decided to open a restaurant in the Columbus, Ohio area after he couldn’t find a decent burger place around. He went on to name the place after his two-year-old daughter Melinda Lou (whose nickname was Wendy).

Wendy’s went on to become a huge success, and saw Thomas resign from his day-to-day job with Wendy’s leaving it in the hands of his employee’s.

By 1989 Thomas had to intervene as numerous problems began to arise and sales began to plummet. Thomas would visit Wendy’s all over the country and bring his hard work ethic with him.

Around this same time he began his commercial career with Wendy’s, essentially becoming the face of the franchise. Thomas went on to appear in more than 800 commercials… more than anyone in television history.
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26 Signatures in Dave Thomas's guestbook

  1. Joojoobee Says:

    You are missed Dave. God bless you. Love, J

  2. jennifer Says:

    i’ve worked at wendys for 13 years i have had other jobs in between those years but i have always come back to wendys . its one of the funnest places i have ever worked and i hope to work there for a while

  3. Jonathan Michaels Says:

    Thanks for Wendys Burgers

    RIP Dave+

  4. Rafael Irizarry Says:

    The GREAT ARCHITECT OF THE UNIVERSE send us good men like Dave every now and then, rest in peace Dave

  5. Obama Says:

    I LOVE FRIED CHICKEN!!!!

  6. chef hess Says:

    Really?

  7. chef hess Says:

    … REALLY?

  8. kenzie Says:

    wendys rock mmy sox

  9. Sam and Grace Says:

    i love your shakes! and i love your baconators! they are amazing!

  10. Lori Howland Says:

    Thank you

  11. Jim King Says:

    Dave the place has gone to shit since you left.

  12. Reagan Says:

    YOU ARE THE HOTTEST MAN ALIVE>>>GOD BLESS DAVE AND HIS HOTNESS =)

  13. Shaniqua Says:

    I love you for inventing wendys!! all though ive gained 200 pounds from eating there everyday i still continue to eat there. I love the baked potatos allthough you probably didnt invent it because you had already died. My favorite is the triple decker combo meal… I get my french fries,drink,and triple decker! I love you so much for inventing wendys!
    Sincerly,
    Shaniqua Sanchez of New Orleans Lousinana

  14. Shaniqua Says:

    I love you for wendys!!!!

  15. Unknown Says:

    peace and love man! R.I.P man!….great guy, i wish he could be alive to see his restaurant today…but as i said RIP RIP! love

  16. faith and erica Says:

    we luvs us some hamboogers

  17. Riana Says:

    - I LOVE WENDY’S . . BEST HAMBURGER JOINT EVER <33 ( :

  18. Richard A.Palacios Says:

    Mr.Dave Thomas, You will be missed. I pray to God Almighty that your family knows that you are missed by many. I grew up watching you. I was shocked when I found out that he was dead. I am living in centro america so I was a little disconnected for the past 5 years.

    God bless you Dave.

    in HIS service, Richard

  19. Mike Says:

    Wendys:

    They stopped TOASTING THE BUNS!!
    The beef IS NOT AS GOOD!!

    Start TOASTING THE BUNS AGAIN, use beter quality BEEF
    & get the old fashioned TASTE BACK!!

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  21. TIMOTHY Says:

    THANK YOU FOR MEETING ME AND SIGNING YOUR BOOK FOR ME. YOU WERE AN AMAZING MAN..
    YOU ARE MISSED..
    THANKS FOR THE INSPIRATION TO MOVE ON AND TO MOVE UP..
    GOD BLESS YOU …\

  22. Lana lane Says:

    I’m doing a project on him in economics and this was very helpful thankyou and also haa I had some Wendy’s today yumm …

  23. natalie Says:

    yummy

  24. natalie Says:

    i miss you I’m srry for your death

  25. Grady M.Youngblood Says:

    Dave Thomas known for Wendys Burgers.

  26. C Falero Jr Says:

    Thank you Dave for making Wendy’s a fine burger chain. God Bless.


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