Lucky Wishbone founder George Brown dies at 96
The founder of an iconic Anchorage restaurant died of old age at his local home Saturday morning, according to his daughter.
Harold George Brown, best known by his middle name, started the Lucky Wishbone diner in 1955. It's since become the oldest single-family-owned restaurant in Alaska.
Brown celebrated his 96th birthday last week, according to the Lucky Wishbone's Facebook page.
Brown's daughter, Pat Heller, says he was originally from the Midwest but moved to Alaska with his wife Peggy in 1951, after having served in the National Guard in World War II.
The couple quickly transformed a home on 5th Avenue, which at the time was dotted with 24-hour nightclubs, into a popular fried chicken spot. The diner -- famous for flying its chicken in fresh from the Lower 48, rather than having it shipped up frozen -- made $80 on its first day, according to Heller.
In 1991, the Lucky Wishbone became Alaska's first non-smoking restaurant. Heller says Brown made the decision in honor of his mother, who died of cancer the year before.
In the years following, Brown still showed up to work daily, even in his last years.
"How the heck did I get this old? I don't know," Brown told KTVA in a 2015 interview, just before the restaurant celebrated its 60th anniversary and he was recognized by the state Legislature. "Never thought about it when we first opened; I was just trying to see if we could get going."
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