Rosati’s Pizza patriarch Frank Rosati has died at 102

As a result of the franchising he spearheaded, Rosati’s Pizza spread across the suburbs, then the country. There are now about 200 Rosati’s locations in several states.

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Frank Rosati, seen here at 101, supplied his brothers’ Mount Prospect restaurant and worked with them on weekends before co-founding the Rosati’s franchise company in the 1970s.

Frank Rosati, seen here at 101, supplied his brothers’ Mount Prospect restaurant and worked with them on weekends before co-founding the Rosati’s franchise company in the 1970s.

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Fred Rosati, who helped his family’s pizzerias become a national chain after his brothers started the first restaurant in Mount Prospect, died Monday in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Mr. Rosati, who remained active in the Warrenville-based Rosati’s Pizza franchise company well into his 90s, was 102.

“You meet people that everybody seems to like,” said Rick Rosati, the company’s chief executive officer. “That was my dad.”

Jeff Rosati, the company’s chief financial officer, said his father enjoyed all sports but was passionate about the Cubs. He said the family rented a bus and brought his father to Wrigley Field to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Born in Chicago on June 23, 1917, Mr. Rosati was one of 10 children in a restaurant family.

In the late 1890s, his family served Italian food to customers in New York. They moved to Chicago at the turn of the century and opened a restaurant featuring Italian-style pizza, a precursor to the Rosati’s empire.

Two of Mr. Rosati’s brothers opened the Mount Prospect pizzeria in 1964, followed by locations in Niles and Arlington Heights. While with the family’s Tolona Pizza Products, Fred Rosati supplied his brothers’ Mount Prospect store and worked with them on weekends before co-founding the Rosati’s franchise company in the 1970s.

As a result of the franchising, Rosati’s Pizza spread across the suburbs, then the country. There are about 200 Rosati’s locations in several states.

Jeff Rosati said his father still was traveling from his winter home in Arizona and his summer place in Door County, Wisconsin.

”He never quit,” Jeff Rosati said. “He was always willing to go somewhere. That’s the crazy thing. At 102, he said, ‘Let’s get in the car and go to a [pizza] store.’”

Fred Rosati is survived by his 100-year-old wife Theresa. The couple were married in 1946.

Other survivors include his seven children, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A public celebration of Mr. Rosati’s life is planned at a later date.

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