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Creston News-Advertiser
Creston, Union County, Iowa
March 4, 2002, Page 3A

OBITUARY - DWIGHT C. VREDENBURG

HY-VEE PRESIDENT DIES

Chariton (AP) -- Dwight C. VREDENBURG [born January 17, 1914], who helped to turn Hy-Vee Food Stores, Inc. into Iowa's largest employer and a major Midwest grocery chain serving seven states, died Thursday [February 28, 2002] at Lucas County Health Center from complications of a stroke. He was 88.

Ron PEARSON, who succeeded VREDENBURG as president of the company in 1983, said his predecessor was a pioneer who helped lead the grocery industry from the mom-and-pop era to the introduction of the modern supermarket.

VREDENBURG began sacking beans in the back of his father's small grocery store in Lamoni. He was promoted to wait on customers at age 15. It was one of many promotions VREDENBURG would see in the Hy-Vee empire until his retirement at age 75 in 1989. In 1930, Charles HYDE and David VREDENBURG - Dwight VREDENBURG's father - opened a store in the small town of Beaconsfield in Ringgold County - a partnership that was the birth of Hy-Vee.

By 1938, with 15 stores spread across Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri under various partnerships, the owners decided to incorporate as Hyde & Vredenburg, Inc.

Dwight VREDENBURG, then 23, was selected as president. The chain's name was changed to Hy-Vee in 1953.

VREDENBURG said he got the job because he was the only one who graduated from college. He had earned a commerce degree in 1935 from the University of Iowa and was managing a store in Centerville.

Over the next 45 years, he led the company to become a major grocery chain in Iowa and the Midwest. In 1983, when PEARSON succeeded him as president of the company, VREDENBURG retained his titles of chairman and CEO until his retirement in 1989.

Storm Lake Pilot Tribune
Storm Lake, Iowa
Tuesday March 5, 2002

OBITUARY ~ DWIGHT C. VREDENBURG

Funeral Services for Dwight C. VREDENBURG, 88, were held Monday, March 4, at the First United Methodist Church in Chariton, with the Reverend Gary DeGEEST officiating. Burial was in the Chariton Cemetery, Chariton.

Fielding Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

A memorial fund has been established with Northridge Living Center, Methodist Church, Rural Health Care Advantage Hospice.

Dwight passed away on February 28, with complications from a stroke, at the Lucas County Health Center.

Dwight was born January 17, 1914, the son of David and Kate VREDENBURG in Lamoni, Iowa. He married Ruth TAYLOR on April 25, 1937 in Missouri.

Dwight worked as CEO of Hy-Vee Food Stores, Inc., in Chariton for 51 years.

He served in the Coast Guard during WWII.He was a member of the Chariton School Board, Graceland University Board, Indian Hills Community College Board of Directors; Aeolians Singers; Choir Director RLDS and Methodist Church. He belonged to the Rotary; Masons; Russell Town Band; and he loved music.

Survivors include his wife, Ruth TAYLOR VREDENBURG, two sons; Chuck VREDENBURG, Storm Lake; John VREDENBURG, Chariton; one daughter, Martha VREDENBURG, Muscatine; one sister, Helen van DER KAMP, Rock Island, IL., 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 

NOTE: On September 10, 2003 Hy-Vee executives held a ceremony to dedicate a memorial statue honoring VREDENBURG. The sculpture, which is a permanent fixture at the entrance to the corporate office, captures VREDENBURG standing and smiling, with a hand reaching out to greet an employee or visitor. In his other hand he holds a book called The Family of Hy-Vee, a company history commissioned shortly before his retirement.

The bronze figure of VREDENBURG stands next to a bronze bench, upon which are items emblematic of his business life: copies of The Wall Street Journal and The Des Moines Register - he started each day of work reading both - a handwritten ledger containing records for the earliest HYDE & VREDENBURG stores, and a rolled-up set of building plans for a new Hy-Vee. Inscribed on a plaque are Dwight VREDENBURG's own words: "Customers go where they are invited and stay where they are well-treated."

SOURCE:
Radio Iowa News
http://www.allbusiness.com/retail-trade/food-stores/4265132-1.html

See History of Beaconsfield for photograph of the First Hy-Vee Store.

To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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