Rick Rosati, CEO of Chicago-based Rosati's Pizza, dies at age 70

WARRENVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Fredric "Rick" Rosati, CEO of the national pizza restaurant group Rosati's Pizza, passed away unexpectedly June 15 at his home in Cave Creek, Ariz., according to an official press release. He was 70 years old.

Rosati's death closely follows that of his father, Rosati's Pizza co-founder Ferdinand "Fred" Rosati, who died at the age of 102 in March.

Rosati opened his first restaurant at the age of 20.

"Rick believed in American entrepreneurship and the power of small business," brother and Rosati's Pizza CFO Jeff Rosati said. "Rick mentored countless dishwashers and cooks and helped people move from entry-level positions to roles as managers and even store owners. A lot of his business partners were former dishwashers."

Rosati started working at his family's flagship restaurant at the age of 14 and later co-founded a Chicago-based pizza supply company with his father and other relatives.

"This isn't just a professional loss for our franchisees; it's personal," sister Regina Rosati said. "A lot of our store owners have known Rick since they were teenagers. He was a father figure and friend who took a personal interest in his colleagues."

Rosati was the driving force to franchise the Rosati's Pizza concept in 1979.

The first Rosati's Pizza restaurant opened in 1964 in Mount Prospect, Ill. and today there are approximately 200 locations throughout the U.S.

At the time of his death, Rosati was overseeing a store opening in Arizona.

Rosati was born in Chicago on Dec. 31, 1949, and he is survived by his mother Theresa Rosati (Cortina); six siblings: Regina Rosati, Stephanie Haack, Michael Rosati (Kay), Annamarie Bensfield (Joseph), William Rosati (Joanne) and Jeffrey Rosati (Karen); and 21 nieces and nephews.

CFO Jeff Rosati will continue to manage the company, the press release stated.

Visitation for Rosati will be held 2:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 24, at Ahlgrim & Sons Funeral Home, located at 330 W. Golf Rd. in Schaumburg, Ill., with a prayer service at 5 p.m.

Private goodbyes are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, June 26, at Stella Maris Catholic Parish, 2410 S. Bay Shore Dr. in Sister Bay, Wisc., with an 11:30 a.m. mass to follow.

Rosati attended St. Mary's School and Sacred Heart Seminary before studying business at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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