NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The last living co-founders of Hunt Brothers Pizza, brothers Charlie and Don Hunt, passed away in late December, the company announced. Charlie Hunt died on Dec. 22 at age 78 and Don Hunt died on Dec. 27 at age 88.
They are preceded in death by their two brothers and co-founders Lonnie Hunt and Jim Hunt.
"The brothers knew where they were going when they passed, and we take comfort in knowing they are reunited again in heaven," said Scott Hunt, CEO of Hunt Brothers Pizza and son of Don Hunt.
Don and Charlie Hunt grew up alongside their brothers in Evansville, Ind., working at the restaurant owned by their father, Austin's Drive In, and learning the ropes of the business. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, Don Hunt launched Pepe's Pizza in 1962. His brothers joined him to build the business over the Southeast over the next two decades.
After a period of working separately during the 1980s, the four Hunt brothers reconnected in 1991 to form what is now known as Hunt Brothers Pizza. Their unique talents and abilities formed a cohesive team that eventually led to more than 9,000 store partnerships, 550-plus team members and the support of countless communities and charities over the years.
Don's vision and drive were vital to the growth of Hunt Brothers Pizza while Charlie's gentle spirit was a core foundation as well, company leadership recalled.
The second generation of Hunt family leaders has overseen Hunt Brothers Pizza since 2009.
"Don and Charlie's lives can be summed up by the mantra my father often repeated: 'Trust in God to meet our needs, and be a blessing to people,'" Scott Hunt said. "They were true pioneers in the industry, enriching the lives of everyone they touched, and we will continue to spread their positive message as we work toward growing the business."
Charlie Hunt is survived by his four children and two grandchildren. Don Hunt is survived by his four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Both are survived by their sisters Mary, Elizabeth and Terri.
With more than 9,000 locations across the country, Nashville-based Hunt Brothers Pizza is the nation's largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry.