Dick Freeland made his fortune franchising 52 Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants – which enabled him to become one of the fastest food moguls.
His and his wife built this luxurious stone mansion on 50 acres in Fort Wayne, Indiana back in 1997; now it’s on the market for a cool $30 Million.
Early Life and Education
He received both his bachelor’s and doctorate from Amherst College. Additionally, he was an accomplished writer, publishing two books.
Beginning his business ventures by opening a Pizza Hut franchise near Coliseum Boulevard on East State in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Over time it grew into 48 locations throughout Indiana and Ohio – as well as becoming partners in four KFC restaurants.
During this time, he established Rebel Records and released 30 albums by bluegrass artists such as Ralph Stanley, the Cooke Duet, New Harvest and Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen. Additionally, he founded Bluegrass Unlimited magazine and wrote numerous articles related to higher education; while also serving as trustee and vice chair for Davis Educational Foundation.
Freeland was president of Northeastern University for over ten years, shepherding it through a major repositioning. Additionally, he has served on multiple boards both locally and statewide and held faculty appointments where he taught academic leadership and American history courses.
He was an active contributor to bluegrass music, serving on the board of directors of IBMA and founding Rebel Records. Aside from music-making activities, he was also an avid hunter and breeder of Arabian horses.
In 1967, he started working at Pizza Hut to pay off credit card debt and soon became a full-time employee. Over time, he advanced through management positions until eventually becoming RGM, Area Manager, and eventually part-owner of an Iowa franchise.
Achievement and Honors
Dick Freeland was instrumental in the founding of Rebel Records and helping launch many bluegrass stars, including Del McCoury and Rhonda Vincent. Additionally, he helped shape Bluegrass Unlimited magazine in its early days.
He held positions on the boards of Boston University, Fleet Bank and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, he delivered lectures at Northeastern University regarding higher education and American history.
He has received many honors and awards, such as being named Sagamore of the Wabash by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Additionally, he enjoys hunting, fishing and breeding Arabian horses – activities he continues to indulge in as an Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash. Additionally, he supports numerous local and national charities; in his capacity as chairman of Valvoline Inc and director at Cummins Inc (which makes diesel engines and components).
Freeland was an avid hunter and fisherman as well as an active member of Ducks Unlimited. He also loved traveling and breeding Arabian horses, indulging in extensive politics locally, state, and nationally while serving on multiple boards of directors; most notably founding Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne Inc.
On October 20, 2013, at the age of 76, Deanna died at home. He is survived by his wife Kim (Alan) Cook, Kimberly Derheimer (deceased), Todd Freeland and Tyler Freeland as well as grandsons Tyler Freeland, Dillon Freeland Lindsay Falk (Darin Falk) Austin Freeland; as well as great-grandchild Connor Freeland.
He designed and constructed his dream home on a 50 acre estate, a four-story mansion featuring wood paneled dining and living areas with crystal chandeliers and 16 stone fireplaces.
Dick Freeland is estimated to have amassed an estimated net worth between $1 Million – $3 Million due to his primary career as a Celebrity.
Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne was his brainchild; initially he started out as an iron worker but transitioned into fast food later. Starting by selling little slices here and there, eventually becoming an RGM, area coach, and part owner of an Iowa franchise were just among his accomplishments.
His family includes his wife, three children and five grandchildren – among them MLB pitcher Kyle Freeland of the Colorado Rockies. Additionally, he serves on the boards of Cooper Standard and Embark Trucks; in addition to owning Valvoline Inc stock.