Hunt Brothers Pizza has announced the passing of Lonnie Hunt, co-founder, who died peacefully in his sleep on July 6 at the age of 85.
The company has noted that he was an inspirational force both personally and professionally, and he always strived to embody the core guiding principles that Hunt Brothers Pizza was founded on — to be a blessing to people.
“We remember Lonnie as living a well-lived life. He loved his family, his wife Darla; sons Victor, Chris and Austin; eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren, very deeply,” says Scott Hunt, CEO of Hunt Brothers Pizza and nephew of Lonnie. “He was a man of great faith and his beliefs gave both him and his family peace in his final days.”
Born on November 21, 1936 in Evansville, Ind., Lonnie was the second of seven children to Austin and Matilda Hunt. Along with his brothers, he grew up working in the family business learning the ropes at his father’s restaurant, Austin’s Drive In. Following his father’s passing, Lonnie took over management of the restaurant at age 17 — only a junior in high school — with 40 full-time employees and five siblings at home.
After his brother Don started Pepe’s Pizza in 1962, Lonnie, alongside his brothers, built the business over the next two decades across the Southeast.
In 1991, Lonnie and his brothers co-founded what is now Hunt Brothers Pizza, where each brother brought their own strengths to the company. Lonnie’s drive, determination and innovation were critical to the now more than 30 years of success of the thriving family business.
With more than 8,000 locations across the country, Hunt Brothers Pizza is the nation’s largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry. The company is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. and is family owned and operated.