TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Frank Carney, who co-founded Pizza Hut in Wichita with his brother Dan Carney, has passed away at the age of 82.
Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Pete Meitzner made the announcement during this morning’s commission meeting.
He said that Frank and Dan Carney created incredible value for Wichita worldwide and he referred to Frank Carney’s health issues.
“I know he’s had a tough last few years, he and his family, and he was a fantastic person,” Meitzner said. “Dan is still with us and my heartfelt condolences to Dan and all the Carney family.”
The Carney brothers were inducted into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame (KBHF) in 2003.
In 1958, when Frank was 20 and Dan was 27, they borrowed $600 from their mother to open B&B’s, a beer and pizza place.
“He was always the guy to say yes lets go do it,” said friend Terry Newman. “He was so invested in the Wichita community one of the first things he told me was if we’re going to start a business here we’re going to give back and we do that because these are the people who are taking care of us.”
According to the KBHF, the two Wichita men franchised the first Pizza Hut in Topeka two years later. They went on to change the concept to a quality family restaurant specializing in pizza. The business expanded until it became the world’s largest pizza chain. The Carneys sold it in 1977 to Pepsico for an estimated $310 million.
“If it came to a pitch, I wanted him not just next to me but on my side too,” said friend Rudy Reissig. “He’ll be remembered well in all aspects.”
They both went on to other business interests and continued to give back to the community.
Frank Carney also served as president of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce and the International Franchise Association and taught business at Wichita State University.
No information about a funeral or memorial service is available yet.