NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Donald Ralph Hamacher, musician and co-founder of Dog-N-Suds, passed away Friday morning, Jan. 4, 2013, at 92 years of age.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 69 years, Margaret Hunter Hamacher, Maggie. He will be lovingly remembered by his two daughters, Diane Oberlies and Jeanine Kuhn-Coker; four granddaughters; and eight great-grandchildren.
Born in Richmond, Mo., where his family owned the Hamacher Mill, Don had three older sisters, who preceded him in death.
While in the Marine Reserve Program, Don funded his own college at Missouri University by playing in the Eddie Gibbons dance band and where he was also drum major for the Missouri University marching band. His biggest college accomplishment was meeting Maggie. They were married and started their life together in Robinson. Later they moved to Champaign, where Don was a high school music teacher.
Always the entrepreneur, Don and a friend started a hot dog and root beer drive-in called Dog-N-Suds in the summer. This franchise grew to be one of the largest independently owned franchises in the United States with over 700 locations. During his Dog-N-Suds tenure, he was president of the International Franchise Association, honorary citizen of the city of New Orleans and guest speaker at the Harvard School of Business.
In 1975, Don and Maggie moved to North Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he continued his love for music and business. He obtained his real estate broker's license.
Don was on the Long Bay Symphony board since its inception, a former president and honorary lifetime member. He directed the choir at Lakeside Baptist church, started the Grand Strand Singers, was president of the Coastal Concert Association, organized and directed the All City Christmas Cantata and was grand marshal of the North Myrtle Beach Christmas parade. He was an active member of Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church and sang in the choir.
An 84 merit badge Eagle Scout, musician, golfer, international traveler, pilot, boater, volunteer and hopeless romantic, Don Hamacher was a high energy, likable and driven man who had influence on many people's lives.
He especially loved the time with his wife, daughters and grandchildren.
A memorial to celebrate his life will be held Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2:30 p.m. at Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, a gift may be sent to the American Heart Association or the church.