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Fry's Supermarkets Founder Donald Fry Dies at 92

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Donald Fry, founder of the Fry's supermarket chain here, died Tuesday at the age of 92.

Fry had Parkinson's disease, developed pneumonia, and died at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, according to published reports in local news media.

Fry started Fry's Food Stores Inc. in California and with his brother, Charles, expanded the chain to Arizona in 1960. Fry sold the business in 1972. Following a series of industry mergers in the 70s and 80s, Fry's became a division of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.

Fry was born in Eureka, Okla., and got his start in the grocery industry by opening a meat market in Oakland in his mid-20s, earning a reputation in the industry for his butchering skills. Following service in the armed forces during World War II, he married and moved home to Oklahoma where he oversaw a supermarket.

Fry then earned a degree in business administration from University of California at Berkeley, settled in California, and held various meat-market positions before starting his namesake grocery chain.

Described as a relentless worker, Fry was inducted into the Arizona Grocers Hall of Fame in 1989.

Fry is survived by his wife, Mollie; son Jeff and daughter-in-law Carol; daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Rick Touton; daughter-in-law Mary; sister Laverne Coleman; and brother Charles Fry. He is also survived by seven grandsons, and two great-grandchildren.

Fry's son, Jonathan, died in 1997.
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