Carl's Jr.®

Margaret Heinz Karcher, Wife of Carl's Jr. Founder Carl N. Karcher, Dies

Jun 6, 2006

CARPINTERIA, Calif. – June 6, 2006 – Margaret Magdalen Heinz Karcher, 91, wife of Carl's Jr. restaurant chain founder Carl N. Karcher, passed away today in Scottsdale, Ariz. from cancer of the liver.

A public vigil service will be held Wednesday, June 14 at 7 p.m. PDT and a funeral mass will be celebrated Thursday, June 15 at 10 a.m., both at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim. Hilgenfeld Mortuary is handling the arrangements for burial at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange.

Margaret and her husband started their business on July 17, 1941 when they borrowed $311 on their Plymouth automobile and added $15 from her purse to purchase a hot dog cart in Los Angeles.

The hot dog cart proved successful and within a few years, they owned and operated four more stands in Los Angeles. In 1945, the Karchers moved to Anaheim, Calif. near Margaret's family home and opened their first full-service restaurant, Carl's Drive-In Barbeque. Their business continued to grow, becoming the thousand-unit chain it is today.

Margaret served on the board of directors of Carl Karcher Enterprises, Inc. and was a member of the Anaheim Women's Chamber of Commerce, Damas de Caridad, Las Campanas, Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge, and the Angels of the Arts for the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

"Today we grieve the loss of Margaret Karcher, who, with her husband, Carl, played a significant role in the development of not only our Company, but also our industry. She was a devout Catholic, a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and a cherished friend who touched countless lives through her generosity and spirit," said Andrew F. Puzder, CEO and president of CKE Restaurants, Inc.

Margaret was born on March 2, 1915, to Joseph William and Catherine (Kirsch) Heinz in Big River, Wis. One of 15 children, she was raised in Anaheim, Calif., and married Carl N. Karcher Nov. 30, 1939. The orange grove on which Margaret was raised in Anaheim eventually became home to the corporate headquarters of Carl Karcher Enterprises, Inc., and offices still stand on the site.

"My mother and father built this business based on their belief in hard work and their strong faith in God," said Margaret's son, Carl Leo Karcher. "It is a testament to her strength and love that our family, and their business, remain committed to these values today. We will miss her dearly."

Margaret is survived by her husband of 66 years, Carl. They have 12 children: Anne Marie Wiles, Patricia LaGraffe, Margaret Jean LeVecke, Carleen Karcher (deceased), Carl L. Karcher, Catherine Karcher, Janelle Karcher, Father Jerome T. Karcher, Rosemary Miller, Barbara Wall, Joseph Karcher and Mary Miller; they have 51 grandchildren; and 39 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Mercy House, a support center serving homeless families in Orange County and the Inland Empire and founded by Father Jerome T. Karcher, at P.O. Box 1905 Santa Ana, CA 92702 ( or Providence Speech and Hearing Center at 1301 Providence Ave Orange, CA 92868 (