Subway co-founder Peter Buck dead at 90



Peter Buck — a nuclear physicist who lent his friend’s son $1,000 to start a sandwich shop in 1965 and became a billionaire as it grew into the giant Subway Restaurants chain — has died, The Post has learned.

Buck, who according to sources had been ill for some time, died at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut on Thursday, Subway confirmed. He was 90.

That means both co-founders of the 56-year-old chain have passed. Fred DeLuca, who as a teenager had taken Buck’s loan and turned a single shop in Bridgeport, Conn., into one of the world’s biggest fast-food empires, ran Subway almost until the time he died of leukemia in 2015.

The chain’s corporate parent is called Doctor’s Associates, in reference to Buck, who earned a doctorate in physics. By 1973, the duo had 16 locations throughout Connecticut and, in 1974, they began franchising the chain, Subway said.

What had started as a business venture to help the young DeLuca pay for college became a chain that currently operates nearly 40,000 restaurants worldwide.

Subway restaurant exterior
The Subway Restaurants chain, which started with a single store in Bridgeport, Conn., now spans nearly 40,000 locations worldwide.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Buck’s net worth is estimated by Forbes at $1.7 billion. Buck used some of his fortune to buy timberland. He owned 1.2 million square miles of forest in Maine, Subway said. Over the past five years, Buck has donated $216 million toward his PCLB Foundation, which supports organizations that focus on family issues, according to Forbes.

Buck leaves behind his sons Christopher and William, daughters-in-law April and Hara, and grandchildren Sam, Emily, Oliver, Simon and James.

Buck was believed to share 50-50 ownership of Subway with DeLuca’s widow, Elisabeth.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of Subway’s founders, Dr. Peter Buck,” Subway chief executive John Chidsey said in a statement. “He was a shining example of a dedicated, hands-on leader, and an integral member of the Subway family.”

People walk by a Subway restaurant
Subway Restaurants was believed to be 50 percent owned by Buck, with Fred DeLuca’s widow, Elisabeth, controlling the other half.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Buck was born on Dec. 19, 1930, in South Portland, Maine. He graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1952, and earned master’s degree and doctorate in physics at Columbia University.


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