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Wilson A. Rogers McDonald's pioneer succumbs

Wilson A. Rogers one of the first African Americans to operate a McDonald's franchise has died. He was 93.

Born May 1, 1923 in West Point, OH, Rogers was one of eight children was drafted at 19 and served in World War II, where he was stationed in France with the 537 Quarter Master Corps.

He received an honorable discharge, and worked numerous jobs including as a painter, realtor and working in the steel yards. After 24 years of working for National Screw Manufacturing, Wilson decided to seek owning his own business. In 1968 when McDonald's was boycotted because all of the franchises operated in the African American community were all white owned.

As a result of the boycotts McDonald's founder Ray Croc began searching for black owners and Rogers answered the call and was selected because of his passion to serve his community.

Thus, he became one of the first African-Americans to own and operate a McDonald’s franchise in Cleveland, Ohio in 1971. He was the fifth black McDonald's owner. Because of his commitment and operating strengths, Wilson earned the respect and admiration of his peers and recognized not as just a minority owner but as a man of vision and integrity that resulted in him owning four McDonald’s franchises.

These franchises were right in the heart of Cleveland and were located on Miles Ave, E.93rd and Kinsman, E. 114th and Buckeye, E. 82nd and Euclid, and E. 30th and Carnegie. Wilson has been a pioneer in the McDonald’s system by leading with the implementation of Value Meals, single lane and double lane Drive-Thru’s and he was a Board Chair and Co-op President of McDonald’s Operators and so much more. Wilson loved family, Wilson loved people, people loved him, and he was a father not only to his own children but also to his extended family the people who worked alongside him through his McDonald’s locations.

He strongly believed, “that it took a village to raise a child” and education was his number one priority. He championed many charitable causes throughout Northeast Ohio and one of his greatest community efforts was the formation of the UNCF Golf outing over 25 years ago and his support of the UNCF College Fund, which provided scholarships to minority students to further their education.

Rogers was a member of Emanuel Baptist Church in Cleveland, OH where he served various positions and served on the Board of Trustees. He leaves to celebrate his life his children Jayson (Jamilya), Michael (Tennille), Emerson, Tiarrah, Johanna, Joshua, Josiah, and Jaheila. A loving sister Gladys Hilton, Shawn and Angie McIntyre, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, his extended family, all of the employees who worked for him at McDonald’s locations and W.A.R. Management. Countless friends, and associates near and throughout the United States.

Jayson Rogers and family extend an invitation to his public viewing at Cummings and Davis Funeral Home located at 3201 Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland, OH 44112 on Thursday, September 22, from 4p – 7p. Relatives are respectfully invited to attend Memorial Services in memory of Wilson Rogers from 12:30p – 2p at Hilton Garden Inn located at 8971 Wilcox Dr. in Twinsburg, OH 44087. Friends are welcomed from 2p-4p at the same location on Saturday, September 24, 2016. Please contact Jayson Rogers at (216) 577-5750 or email for more information. Funeral Arrangements entrusted to Cummings and Davis Funeral Home.

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