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.