August 15, 1918|
Martin County, North Carolina, United States
|Died||June 20, 2008
Greenville, North Carolina, United States
|Cremation, inurned at Pinewood Memorial Park, Greenville, NC|
Wilber Hardee was born in Martin County, North Carolina on August 15, 1918. His first name is commonly misspelled as Wilbur, but Wilber is the way he spelled it himself. See his autobiography The Life and Times of Wilber Hardee . Raised on his family's farm, he eventually left the family business to become a musician and later a grill cook. Hardee joined the United States Navy during World War II, but upon his uncle's death, he returned to the United States. After returning he met and married Kathryn Roebuck in 1945 .
With his wife, he opened a series of restaurants and inns in North Carolina, including the Do Drop Inn and Port Terminal Inn and the Silo Restaurant. He studied the things that the public seems to respond to the most at existing quick-serve restaurants at the time and an idea formed that would evolve into the first Hardee's restaurant concept. On September 3, 1960, he opened the first Hardee's location in his hometown of Greenville.
Wilber Hardee died in his home town of Greenville, North Carolina on June 20, 2008, and was cremated two days later. His cremains are inurned in Greenville at Pinewood Memorial Park in the Floral Garden 4 Section.
- "Wilbur Hardee, Founder of Hardee's, Dies at 89". Reuters. 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
- Christopher Leonard (2008-06-23). "Hardee’s founder Wilbur Hardee dead at 89". MSNBC. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
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