ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Lucky Wishbone founder George Brown has died of old age at 96. The Downtown business has been open since 1955 and is Alaska’s oldest single family-owned restaurant.
Family members say Sen. Ted Stevens introduced Brown's wife Peggy to President George W. Bush in 2002, saying that “this lady makes some of the best fried chicken in the country”
The loss of Brown has left family remembering the amazing life he led; he flew planes over the Himalayas during WWII, received the Distinguished Flying Cross and went pheasant hunting at 95, according to his daughter.
For Anchorage residents, Brown will be best remembered for his role in founding the popular fried chicken spot that is still open to this day. Family says Brown came to Alaska with his wife Margaret “Peggy” Krause in 1951. Four years later, he opened the Lucky Wishbone, making $80 on his first day. The restaurant survived the 1964 earthquake and continued to thrive.
Family say Brown's mother died of cancer in 1990 and in her honor, "the Lucky Wishbone became the first non-smoking restaurant in Alaska in 1991. The decision was both revolutionary and controversial, and according to Peggy, "almost caused a divorce."
In 2010, Brown continued to fly his Cessna 180, and family say he "last landed on the Deshka River at the age of 94." In 2011, Brown celebrated his 67th anniversary with wife Peggy. On April 17, Peggy passed away in Anchorage. Brown celebrated his 96 birthday Jan. 7 with the Lucky Wishbone's Facebook page posting about the event.
Family says in lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to be given to veterans’ organizations, the Alaska Aviation Museum, or Pheasants Forever.