Warren Armstrong who, along with his wife, Mary Jane, owned and operated Sandusky’s first McDonald’s restaurant, died May 23, 2021 of natural causes. He was 98.
In 1962, that McDonald’s, opposite the entrance to the Cedar Point Causeway, was franchise #394 in the country. In 1974, the couple sold the unit back to the McDonald’s Corporation.
Warren was born November 1, 1922 in Joliet, IL to Norman and Alma Armstrong. Norman, who was raised in a Portland, Oregon orphanage, was a real estate appraiser with the Standard Oil Company.
After graduating from Joliet High School, Warren enlisted in the Marines and became a pilot. Stationed in Hawaii during WWII, he flew cover missions for U.S. submarines in the Pacific Theater. At war’s end, he was stationed in North Carolina, working on a project related to the possible invasion of Japan.
Following WWII, he received a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. At Wisconsin, he met a graduate student, Mary Jane Dahle, from Whitewater, WI. The couple married in 1950.
From 1950 – 1962, Warren worked as an engineer for Barnes Pumps (Mansfield, OH), Bendix Aviation (South Bend, IN) and The Parker Pen Co. (Janesville, WI). It was while commuting to Parker Pen that he noticed a new restaurant prototype featuring two golden arches, and became intrigued by the company’s prospects.
Warren is survived by his son Jon (Sheila Egan and her son, Sam Marotta), Columbus, OH; daughter Ann, New York City; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Jane (in 2014); brother David (Houston, TX); sister June Whitehead (Seattle, WA); and six nieces and nephews.
Warren and Mary Jane were avid theatre-goers, an interest they passed along to their children through many trips to New York, Chicago, Cleveland, and the Huron Playhouse. The couple enjoyed taking long road trips through the lower 48 states. Warren was an avid investor, and he cared deeply for animals and animal welfare. He was active in Lions Club, served on the Board of United Way, and was a past president of the Pinewood Venice Heights Condo Association #5.
The family would like to recognize Warren’s at-home caregivers – a team assembled by Cheryl Miller. Thank you to Ernie, Leslie, Paris, Mandy, Judy, Melissa and Jocelynn for their wonderful work. The family is also grateful to Randall A. Ruthsatz & Co.; Flynn, Py & Kruse; and Dr. Richard Keller for their expertise and guidance over the years.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Sandusky Public Library, Meals on Wheels, Back to the Wild, or another charity of your choosing.
Pfeil Funeral Home, Sandusky Chapel, 617 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky has been entrusted with arrangements.
Services will be private.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Warren Benjamin Armstrong, please visit our floral store.
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