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Obituary: McDonald’s CEO Fred Turner, Founded Patty Turner Center

Retired McDonald’s CEO Fred Turner of Deerfield, who died Monday at 80, was one of Ray Kroc's first employees. He helped build Village’s Patty Turner Center in memory of his wife.

(Update at 4:45 a.m.) Fred Turner, a longtime Deerfield resident and retired CEO of McDonald’s who died Monday at 80 was the driving force behind the establishment of the Village’s Patty Turner Center.

Turner’s late wife, Patty Turner, was an active in senior programming with the according to Park District Communications Director Darla Kuhs. Patty Turner died Oct. 10, 2000, at 67, according to the Chicago Tribune.

After his wife’s death, Turner, his family and friends made a large donation toward the establishment of a senior center in Deerfield in partnership with the Park District and the Village, according to Kuhs.

“Fred Turner, a long time Deerfield resident, whose wife Patty was very active in Deerfield Park District senior programming, made a significant contribution to the construction of the senior center,” Kuhs said.

Turner’s story was a personification of the American dream, according to accounts of his life. He joined the company in 1956 as one of founder Ray Kroc’s first employees, according to an article in the Chicago Sun Times. In the early days, he could be found working alongside cooks and order takers in the restaurants.

Fred was a true pioneer and shaped the quick service restaurant industry. We will remember his leadership, passion and dedication to McDonald's, our customers and our people," McDonald’s Chairman Andy McKenna said in a statement in the Chicago Tribune.

Turner became the company’s president in 1968 and CEO in 1974, according to the Tribune. He became chairman and CEO in 1977 and held those positions for 10 years. He remained chairman until 1990 when he became senior chairman in 2004. In 2004, he retired and became honorary chairman.

Two years after joining the company, Turner wrote the company’s “operations and training manual” which remains the blueprint for employee training, according to the Sun Times story.

Visitation is scheduled from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Patty Turner Center and the funeral is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Holy Cross Church, according to Turner Center Manager David Shamrock.

(Earlier at 7:04 a.m.) Fred Turner, who served as CEO of Oak Brook-based McDonald's died Monday, according to Crain's Chicago Business. He lived in Deerfield and was 80 years old.

Turner was chief executive of the company from 1974 to 1977 and then became chairman and CEO until 1987, according to Crain's. He remained chairman for three more years and continued on as senior chairman until he retired in 2004. The company more than tripled its number of restaurants under Turner's leadership.

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bearfandan January 09, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Mr turned was a great guy. Had the privilege to meet him and when I was a sig ep at drake university, in Des Moines Iowa, he was an alum ( both the fraternity and the school). And happened to be from. My hometown of Deerfield il. Rip mr turner
Patty Lins January 10, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Our sympathy to daughters Paula, PattySue, & Teri. Many fond memories of Turner family and McDs growing up together in Deerfield. And now a wonderful tribute in Deerfield with the Patty Turner Center. Thank you Fred. LINS

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