Former Ralphs Chief Allumbaugh Dies

Byron Allumbaugh, Longtime CEO and chairman of Ralphs, passed away unexpectedly Oct. 28 at his home in Newport Beach, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported. He was 84.

Born Nov. 15, 1931 in Beebe, Ark., Allumbaugh is perhaps best remembered for his nearly four-decade tenure at Ralphs Grocery Co., which he joined in 1958 after managing a small supermarket chain in Orange County. He rose through several positions at the company, eventually becoming COO in 1971, president in 1973, and CEO in 1976. He held his last role there through 1997.

Throughout his career, he held many other positions in the industry, including chairman of the Food Marketing Institute from 1982 to 1985, chairman of the Uniform Code Council from 1988 to 1990, president of the Western Association of Food Chains from 1972 to 1973, chairman of the California Retailers Association from 1986 to 1993, and director of the International Chain Store Organization from 1985 to 1996.

After his retirement from Ralphs in 1997, he served on many public and private boards of directors, including CKE Restaurants, Pantry Convenience Stores, Federated Department Stores, Daymon Worldwide and Schnuck Markets, among others. He also held directorships at many charitable organizations, including the Horatio Alger Association, Orange County Performing Arts Center, Los Angeles United Way, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and more. Along the way, he received numerous accolades, including the Horation Alger Award, the Sydney R. Rabb Award from the Food Marketing Institute, the Hall of Fame Award from Southern California Grocers, and more.

Among the many things he enjoyed doing, Allumbaugh relished traveling with his wife of 40 years, Ronnie, and their large circle of friends; playing golf, bridge and gin; and attending parties. He will be remembered for his strong sense of humor and love of laughing, as well as his innumerable acts of kindness.

Allumbaugh is survived by his wife; four children: Lawrence Allumbaugh (Dianna), James Allumbaugh (Kathy), Scott Heger (Batzi) and Clancy Blair Strobel (Greg); eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother Stephen and grandson Chase Heger.  

A private family service and interment will take place Nov. 2. Friends and family are invited to attend a memorial gathering at 12:30 p.m. the same day, at Big Canyon Country Club, #1 Big Canyon Dr., Newport Beach. Calif. In lieu of flowers, please send any gifts or donations to Hoag Hospital Foundation in support of medical education at the Ronnie and Byron Allumbaugh Conference Center, at the Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart and Vascular Institute at Hoag Hospital.

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