Farnsworth, Maine pizza franchise legend, dead at 90

 
Feb. 17, 2003

ORONO, Maine -- Carl 'Pat' Farnsworth, a Maine pizza legend and founder and owner of 13-store Pat's Pizza, died of pneumonia on Feb. 13. He was 93.

According to the Boston Globe, Farnsworth worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, up until his 90th birthday.

"He was very hard-working and was in here every night for years," said David Hodsdon, grill cook at the Pat's Orono restaurant. "Tourists would come in here and they thought he was this fictional character. ... People were shocked when they could go downstairs and meet him."

Farnsworth started Farnsworth's Cafe in Orono with $150 in 1931. When he added pizza to the menu in 1953, it was an instant success and he renamed the café Pat's Pizza. Now the franchise, known for its fresh dough and special sauce, has locations throughout the state.

"From politicians to the man on the street, it was for everyone," Lianne Harris, Orono town council chairperson, said of Pat's. "This place couldn't be imitated -- there's nothing like this. ... Anybody who has been to Orono or gone to the University of Maine in the last 50 years has gone to Pat's."

Often seen around town with a cigar in his mouth and white suspenders hanging from his waist, Farnsworth knew almost every resident by name.

"Everyone was always happy to see him," said Hodsdon, who has worked the grill at Pat's since 1995.

Farnsworth's son Bruce, who runs the family business, worked at the Orono restaurant the night his father died.

"I told my sister, 'I've got to go in,' " he said. 'That's what he'd do."

Farnsworth is survived by another son, George; two daughters, Ann Rosebush and Pam Savoy; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.


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