Richard Schaefer, 79, of Longboat Key and formerly of Wilmette, Ill., died Dec. 5.
Born July 24, 1930, in Sandusky, Ohio, he graduated with a degree in business from The Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio, in 1952, and later became a certified public accountant after graduate school at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill. He served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and reported to the Pentagon.
He began his career as a certified public accountant in Chicago and then worked his way from a finance position to president and CEO of Tractor Supply Co. In 1973, he left that company to become CEO of Bill’s Dollar Stores, based in Jackson, Miss., which had more than 400 retail stores throughout the Southeast. He became CEO of Fox Grocery Co., in the Pittsburgh area, in 1976.
In 1981, Mr. Schaefer resigned his position at Fox Grocery Co. and moved to Longboat Key. He spent the next 10 years working as a mergers and acquisitions consultant in the food industry. That year, he also opened DG Hardware Store in Sarasota, which now has 10 locations in the Sarasota and Chicago areas.
Mr. Schaefer was a member and former commodore of Bird Key Yacht Club. He served on the Longboat Key Zoning Board of Appeals and chaired Water Advisory Board.
Mr. Schaefer was active in the Catholic Church throughout his life.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Gerda; children Christi Hartigan, Leigh Ann Devine, Richard Schaefer Jr., Rohn Schaefer and Jeffrey Schaefer; 10 grandchildren; one great-grandson; and brother, Raymond Schaefer, of Sandusky, Ill. and Marco Island.
A Catholic Mass and memorial service will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church, 4280 Gulf of Mexico Drive. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Donors Services, P.O. Box 4074, Pittsfield, Mass. 01202, leukemia-lymphoma.org or TideWell Hospice and Palliative Care, Attn.: Philanthropy Department, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, Fla. 34238, tidewell.org.