Gus P. Karos
Gus P. Karos, of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, one of McDonald’s Owner/Operator early pioneers, who died at the age of 87 in May of 2011, bequeathed $500,000 to Leadership 100, which was among numerous charitable beneficiaries of his will. The Karos family, including his brother, Nicholas, also a member of Leadership 100 and nieces Meloney Herrick, Margo Karos and Paige Navratil carry on the tradition as Owner/Operators of McDonald’s in the Ohio region. Gus and Nicholas Karos joined Leadership 100 in 1985, just one year after its founding.
Karos, who was born in Joliet, Illinois, graduated from Joliet High School before serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, fighting in the “The Battle of the Bulge”, Ardennes campaign, and in the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns. After the war, he attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and Northwestern University, Evanston-Chicago, graduating with a B.S. in Business Administration in 1948. He also attended the Francis Pope Cooking School in Chicago and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
He owned and operated the Carousel Snack Shop in Chicago and, in 1960, obtained the franchise rights to own and operate the first McDonald’s restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. Owing to his success, over the next 40 years, he and his brother, Nick, owned and operated an additional 24 McDonald’s restaurants.
Karos personally designed entire décor packages for the 25 McDonald dining rooms, which are still widely admired. He also was instrumental in starting the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland and strengthening the McDonald’s brand. An avid worldwide traveler, he was a collector of art and an accomplished ballroom dancer.
He was a member of both All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Joliet and SS. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Cleveland.