Michael Delligatti

August 02, 1918 - November 28, 2016


Michael “Jim” Delligatti, inventor of the iconic Big Mac sandwich, passed away Monday night surrounded by his family in Pittsburgh. He was 98 years old.

Jim combined two all-beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and most importantly, the “”secret sauce,”” to create one of the world’s best known hamburgers.

He first introduced the seven-ingredient sandwich at his Uniontown restaurant in 1967. Today the Big Mac is sold in more than 100 countries around the world and has become the most popular sandwich on the planet.

One of the Golden Arches’ first franchisees, Jim opened his first McDonald’s restaurant on McKnight Road in 1957. He went on to own and operate 47 additional locations in western Pennsylvania, making him one of the single largest franchise holders in the company’s history.

A true innovator for the industry, Jim was instrumental in introducing breakfast service at McDonald’s. He developed the Hotcakes and Sausage meal to feed hungry steel workers on their way home from overnight shifts in the mills.

Jim was also the beloved patriarch of M&J Management, a four-generation family business and McDonald’s franchise organization for more than 60 years.

Jim was known for being a spirited and generous philanthropist. In 1979, he co-founded Pittsburgh’s Ronald McDonald House, a refuge for families who travel to Pittsburgh seeking life-saving medical care for their sick children at the region’s renowned hospitals. He continued to serve on the charity’s board and contribute to the House for several decades.

He was also a strong supporter of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Junior Achievement of Southwestern PA, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Boy Scouts of America and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Jim served as Sergeant, Army Yankee Division in the European theater during World War II.

He is survived by his loving wife Ellie Delligatti; sons James (Lois) and Michael (Twilley); grandchildren Daniel (Michelle), Anthony (Kari), Todd (Susan), James and Christian; and great-grandchildren Danielle, Nicholas, Alexis, Haley, Steven, Benjamin, Jack and Christopher.

Friends received Thursday 2 – 4 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m.; and Friday 2 – 4 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. at DEVLIN FUNERAL HOME, INC. 806 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15229. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Joseph’s Parish, 342 Dorseyville Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15215. Saturday 11 a.m. Everyone please meet at church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to www.RMHCPGH.org/donate or Providence Connections, 311 Brighton Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15212, www.providenceconnections.org.

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  • Erich and Rheba Salac

    We are indeed sorry to hear of Mr. Delligatti’s passing, it’s a great loss to all of us. He has his angel’s wings now and will still be helping people as always. He’s left us with a wonderful legacy that continues in his family. May the blessings continue, Erich and Rheba Salac

  • Linda & Mark Grubb

    We are so sorry for family’s loss. What a great life he led and such a wonderful tribute to him in the Pittsburgh papers. Linda

  • Erich & Rheba Salac

    Dear Mike and Family, we are so sorry that you’ve had to say good-bye to your Dad, he certainly has his angel’s wings. We’ve loved him since we first got to know him in 1967, and he is beloved by many. Such a great person who lived life so fully, and passed along a wonderful legacy to everyone. He will certainly be missed, Erich and Rheba Salac

  • Douglas Railey

    Jim Delligatti was an incredible man and his legacy will live on forever. He will certainly be missed by those who knew and loved him. On behalf of everyone at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, I extend our condolences.

  • Wayne Wolf

    Expressions of Sympathy Wayne Wolf has sent this Expressions of Sympathy card.

  • Currine

    I am saddened to learn that you’re mourning the loss of your dear love one. However, it saddens our God even more. No doubt, you have many fond memories which will resurface from time to time. Because you do have memories, it certainly shows that Almighty God has memories as well. Therefore, with full confidence you can take comfort in knowing that he longs to restore perfect life to all those in his memory (Job 14:13-15; Rev 21:3, 4). Please accept my condolences at this most distressing time.

  • Barbara Kalbfleisch

    I didn’t know your loved one. But I was a teenager in Michigan working at Burger King on the day the Big Mac was introduced. I remember the day vividly. My BK boss rushed to McDonald’s as soon as it opened to check out the Big Mac to compare it to the Whopper (which was 49 cents back then). I offer my sincere condolences to your family.

  • David Blair

    Sad news Goodbye Sir – an American icon gone Was a pleasure working with and knowing you. Prayers for the family for comfort in this time God Bless

  • Donal Campas

    Our deepest sympathies. I will always remember Jim and his entire organization that started me on my life journey. He was a great man and will be missed by all who knew him.

  • Dee Romine

    So sorry for the families loss. I met Mr. Delligatti back in 1988 when I was was one of his employees at his Cranberry township pa store. He taught me how to make a big mac and say the ingredients with him. He was a very kind man. May you all find peace in your hearts.

  • Bob Garvin

    To all who ever knew Jim and even more those that did not, his passing is truly such a great loss as he touched so many lives in so many ways and served as a great role model for all to aspire in being a caring and honest person.

  • Creig Fitzpatrick

    My deepest condolences to Ellie and the Delligatti family during this difficult time.

 

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