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Jack Gordon


Ray Lindstrom, RASW President

From the Seattle Times, August, 2006:

"Ray Lindstrom, who helped create several signature Seattle restaurants and the original Cinnabon pastry, died Aug. 15 at his Bellevue home. He was 63 and suffered from early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

"While Mr. Lindstrom's business peers knew him for his corporate success with Restaurants Unlimited, developing the concepts behind Cutters Bayhouse, Palomino and Palisade, his friends and family remember his adventurous spirit and recreational exploits.

"Mr. Lindstrom was born in Honolulu in 1943 and grew up in Opportunity, on the outskirts of Spokane. His popular leadership style emerged early; he was elected student-body president at Central Valley High School.

"He served in the Reserve Officers Training Corps during his college years at the University of Washington, and upon his 1965 graduation entered active duty with the Army Corps of Engineers and was stationed in Thailand as a first lieutenant. He returned to Seattle in 1967, and in 1971 he earned his master's degree in business administration from the UW.

"Mr. Lindstrom then launched his 25-year career with Seattle-based Restaurants Unlimited. An interview with company founder Rich Komen landed him a job in Tacoma, overseeing the final construction and opening of a Clinkerdagger's. By 1973, he controlled all restaurant operations, and in 1979 became company president. He rose to chief executive officer before leaving the company in 1996 to pursue personal projects.

" 'Rich and Ray were a great one-two team,' said Rick Giboney, Restaurant Unlimited's senior vice president of development. 'Rich was more of a conceptual visionary, and Ray was the operational leader. He was cheerful, he was upbeat — very motivating. He took our business seriously, but he insisted on not taking ourselves personally too seriously.'

"Perhaps his most lasting contribution will be the role he played in developing Cinnabon, a mainstay of malls throughout North America. In the mid-1980s in Kansas City, Komen came up with the concept of cinnamon rolls as a specialty food, and his team set about creating a memorable one. They flew all over the country sampling rolls, then hired Edmonds restaurateur Jerilyn Brusseau.

" 'It was an extraordinary experience,' said Brusseau, who worked closely with Mr. Lindstrom for months, producing two to four test batches every day. 'It really was one of the highlights of my culinary career. There was such vision and incredible passion for creating the world's greatest cinnamon roll.' "

Ray served as President of the Restaurant Association during the early 1990s. He and then exec Vosberg led a failed lobbying attempt to gain tip credit for Washington's restaurant operators.



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