STILLWATER — Richard Dermer, founder of Hideaway Pizza, died Friday, the company announced. He was 74.
A Stillwater native, Dermer founded the pizza chain’s first location in his hometown in 1957. Dermer worked in the restaurant for two years before buying it in 1959, at the end of his freshman year at Oklahoma State University.
The original restaurant, which sits just off the OSU campus, provided jobs for generations of OSU students, said Janie Harris, a spokeswoman for the company. But Dermer refused to hire freshmen to work at the restaurant, saying he wanted them to be grounded in school before taking jobs.
An avid kite flyer, Dermer decorated the walls of the Stillwater restaurant with kites from all over the world. The walls of Dermer’s home in Stillwater are covered with kites as well, Harris said.
Derner is survived by his wife, Marti, and their two sons. The family hopes to hold a memorial service June 19 in Stillwater, Harris said.