• Fortel's Pizza Dens founder dead at 53

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Robert J. "Bob" Fortel, founder of Fortel's Pizza Den, died of a heart attack on Jan. 21. He was 53.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Fortel and wife Janet bought the Pizza Den in Affton, Mo., in 1981 and renamed it Fortel's Pizza Den.

Fortel's dream of operating a pizza chain began to take shape in 1999, when he began to franchise the business. Today there are nine Fortel's Pizza Dens throughout Missouri, seven of which are owned by members of the founding family.

In addition to his wife, Fortel's survivors include daughters Shelly Fortel and Shannon Keller, his parents, three sisters, a brother and four grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, Memorial Processing Center, 5375 Southwest Seventh Street, Topeka, Kan. 66606.

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