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Margaret Karcher, 91

Wife of Carl's Jr. founder dies of cancer in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Orange County Register

Margaret Karcher, 91, wife of Carls Jr. restaurant chain founder Carl Karcher, died today in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she was undergoing treatment for cancer. Her husband of 66 years was at her side, said their son, Carl Leo.

She had served on the board of Carl Karcher Enterprises and was involved in many local philanthropic organizations.

One of 15 children, she grew up on an Anaheim orange grove and married Carl, a bakery deliveryman whom she’d met at St. Boniface Catholic Church, in 1939.

They made their first home in Los Angeles and noticed a growing number of hot dog stands on the streets. They took out a $311 loan on their Plymouth Super Deluxe, to which they added $15 cash from Margaret’s purse, and bought one stand.

It was so successful, they bought more stands and in 1944, moved to Anaheim, where they opened Carl’s Drive-In Barbeque on North Palm Street the following year.

The orange grove on which Margaret grew up eventually became the site of Carl Karcher Enterprises Inc.

Margaret was a loving – and highly organized – mother of 12 who carefully and gently shepherded her children through both the practical and spiritual aspects of their lives.

“We were a very organized family,” said Carl Leo. “My mother kept everything moving in a forward direction and was always there for her kids and husband. It was important that we all do well in school and that we were a prayerful family.”

It was a house full of fun, laughter and friends.

But amid all the hubbub, Margaret kept Carl at the center of her life. As soon as he came home from work, they sat together on the patio or in the living room to share the events of the day.

In addition to her long involvement with St. Boniface Church, Margaret was a member of the Anaheim Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Damas de Caridad, Las Campanas, Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge and the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Angels of the Arts.

A public vigil service will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. and a funeral mass will be will be celebrated Thursday 10 a.m., both at St. Boniface Catholic Church in downtown Anaheim.

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