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RICK OLIPHANT, 65, died on Monday, March 17, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. He was born on May 27, 1948, in Waterloo, Iowa. He began working at the Waterloo Pizza Hut in 1966 and served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam in 1968. After completing his tour of duty in Vietnam, he moved to Australia to open the first Pizza Hut in that country in 1970. He returned to Iowa in 1972 and met Dick Freeland, who asked him to move and manage the first Pizza Hut restaurant in Fort Wayne on East State Blvd. Over the next 42 years, he advanced through the ranks to become Vice-President of Operations and Chief Operating Office of Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne, Inc., overseeing 49 Pizza Huts. In 1999, his responsibilities were expanded to include supervision of the Freeland's KFC business, with the opening of their first KFC restaurant on Covington Road, and later expanded to include four KFC restaurants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association in 2007. He was a past board member of International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association, Fort Wayne Convention & Visitors Bureaus, Junior Achievement, and The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved hunting and fishing. He was a life member of the National Rifle Association and a member of the Safari Club and Ducks Unlimited. He received the Ducks Unlimited 2012 Conservationist of the Year Award. He is survived by his two sons, Chase (Samantha) Oliphant and Blake Oliphant, both of Fort Wayne; brother Robert Oliphant of Waterloo, Iowa; nephew, Darrin Oliphant of Frankfurt, Germany; niece, Vicki Mueller of Frankfurt, Germany; and the mother of his two sons, Cindy Jones. He was preceded in death by his parents, Don and Ruth Oliphant. Funeral service is 11 a.m. Saturday, March 22, 2014, at The Chapel, 2505 W. Hamilton Road, with calling one hour prior. The Rev. Rick Hawks officiating. Calling also from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 21, 2014, at The Chapel. Memorials may be made to The Chapel, 2505 West Hamilton Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46814 or Ducks Unlimited, 1220 Eisenhower Place, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. To sign the online guestbook, visit

Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Mar. 19, 2014
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