Business Leader, Nixon Friend Carl Karcher Dies at 90
He was an Ohio farm boy with an eighth-grade education who turned his $326 investment in a hot dog stand into the multimillion-dollar Carl’s Jr. fast food chain. He died January 11 at St. Jude’s Medical Center in Fullerton of the aftereffects of a stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
“To the Nixon family, Carl Karcher meant much more than loyal friendship,” said Ed Nixon, President Nixon’s younger brother. “His style of entrepreneurial determination matched that of my dad, Frank Nixon, and Carl’s epicurean creations matched the best of my brother, Don. Richard Nixon’s taste always favored top quality beef burgers whether it was Don’s
Nixon Burger or Carl’s Famous Star or an In-N-Out Double Double. I can imagine all of them now enjoying the best of everything in that great White House in the sky! To all the Karcher family, we salute you for giving us one of those great men who never gave up their dreams,” Nixon said.
“President and Mrs. Nixon counted the Carl and Margaret Karchers among their most faithful and constant friends,” said John H. Taylor, executive director of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation. “Carl never failed to have an encouraging word for the former President, and he was tireless in his support of Mr. Nixon’s legacy and library. And as anyone who knew President Nixon well will confirm, the first thing he wanted whenever he visited California, after he and Mrs. Nixon had moved back east, was a Western Bacon Cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry shake from Carl’s Jr.”
Karcher frequently visited RN’s Library in Yorba Linda, most recently on May 24 of 2007 for a VIP reception honoring Newt Gingrich and to hear the former Speaker’s lecture on his latest book, Pearl Harbor.
In 1992, Carl and Margaret Karcher donated an authentic, 12-foot-high section of the historic Berlin Wall to the Library’s permanent collection. It’s on display in the museum’s Structure of Peace gallery as a permanent reminder of the struggle against communism in which Richard Nixon was engaged for nearly half a century.
When President Nixon and son-in-law David Eisenhower came to the Library in July of 1992 to announce their choices of All-Star Baseball Greats, Karcher put on an apron and personally grilled hamburgers in the parking lot for hundreds of local Little Leaguers he invited to meet one of his own All-Star heroes, President Richard Nixon.