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Burt Rose


1931 - 2019
Burt Rose Obituary
(News story) Burt Rose, who introduced McDonald's to Ohio in 1958, teamed with childhood friend Jerry Isan by opening a location on West Laskey Road in Toledo, died Tuesday in Charter Senior Living in Sylvania Township. He was 88.

He'd been in declining health, his son Mark Rose said.

"He had this enduring and endearing optimism, that tomorrow was going to be better than today, even up to the end. He made you believe it," his son said.

The McDonald's on Laskey he and Mr. Isan opened was among the fledgling chain's first 100 restaurants - actually, walk-up hamburger stands years before indoor seating.

Mr. Rose, a Chicago native and Army veteran, was selling baby photos when he and Mr. Isan - whose first venture together was a grade school paper route - secured rights to the Toledo area market from McDonald's headquarters and Ray Kroc himself, who expanded the company's reach through franchising.

After a slow and cold first winter, business picked up as warm weather arrived. They opened a second McDonald's in Oregon by 1960, and other stores in the area through the decade.

"We were thinking about eventually opening two restaurants, or maybe four if things went really well," Mr. Rose told The Blade in 1969, as a Maumee in McDonald's with seating for 100 opened. It was the partnership's 10th Toledo-area location. They expanded to Florida, but also other parts of northwest Ohio and New York.

"He relied on his people skills and his salesmanship," his son said. "He thought in the end if the people were satisfied, things would work out, and that's what his joy was, making them happy."

The partnership sold its restaurants back to the corporation in the 1970s.

Mr. Rose in the 1970s was a partner in opening the Original Pancake House on West Central Avenue near Secor Road. That venture too expanded to several locations. At the location on Central, "he was front of the house. He made everybody feel they were the most important customer at that time," his son said. He missed that contact, after he sold the business.

"In later years, he would visit and some of the customers would say, 'I miss you,'" his son said.

Mr. Rose later opened bowling centers in the area, including Southwyck Lanes with renowned bowler John "Junior" Powell, as well as centers in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. He also was a developer of strip shopping centers, particularly on Monroe Street west of Talmadge Road.

"He was a major entrepreneur," said Jim Rose, no relation, a friend and former business partner. "He saw the city would be expanding in that area. He was very astute."

Mr. Rose was a benefactor of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Toledo and was former trustee of the St. Vincent Medical Center Foundation.

He was born Sept. 17, 1931, in Chicago to Gertrude and Manny Rose and was a 1949 graduate of Sullivan High School. He set down roots in Toledo, through business, his children's activities, and the Jewish community, his son said.

"He was a lot of fun," his son said. "He made you feel when he was talking to you that you were the most important person in his life. It was sincere."

Surviving are his sons, Mark and Jason Rose; daughters, Joan Rose and Lauren Kucic; sister, Corrine Dropkin, and five grandchildren.

Services will begin at 11 a.m. Friday at The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim, Sylvania Township. Arrangements are by the Robert H. Wick/?Wisniewski Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio or a .

This a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at [email protected] or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Oct. 3, 2019
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