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George Brown, who presided over Lucky Wishbone since 1955, has died at 96

  • Author: Julia O'Malley
  • Updated: January 14, 2018
  • Published January 14, 2018

This story has been expanded in a new article here.

George Brown, owner of Lucky Wishbone, an Anchorage fast-food institution at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Karluk Street, died Saturday morning, his daughter Pat Heller said. He was 96.

The last time Brown came to work at the restaurant was last month, she said.

Brown and his wife, Peggy, opened Lucky Wishbone, a diner-style fried-chicken restaurant with a drive-through, on what was then the edge of town in 1955. The Browns met during World War II — George served in the Air Force as a pilot — and came to Alaska in 1951 with their four children, Pat, John, Lorelei and Corky.

They weren't sure about the venture at first, George said in interviews, but business took off.

"At that time, why of course, coffee was 10 cents, a jumbo hamburger was 65 cents, a regular hamburger 40 cents, a milk shake 35 cents — that kind of thing," he told the Anchorage Daily News in 2005, when the restaurant turned 50.

A sign outside the Lighting Gallery by Brown’s notes the passing of George Brown of the Lucky Wishbone. (David Hulen / ADN)

Despite the change in prices, the menu has remained mostly the same all these years. George was a near constant presence among the Formica tables and green vinyl seats, tending to regulars who had been coming to the restaurant for decades.

Peggy Brown died in 2011. George celebrated his 96th birthday a week ago.

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

Do you have a favorite Lucky Wishbone memory? Tell us about it in the comments.