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National Restaurant Association - Restaurateur and past NRA chair Conrad dies at 72

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Restaurateur and past NRA chair Conrad dies at 72

Ken Conrad, a veteran restaurateur and 2014 chairman of the National Restaurant Association, died Dec. 12, following a brief illness. He was 72.

Conrad was the former president and CEO of Libby Hill Seafood Restaurants, a third-generation, family-owned chain based in Guilford Country, N.C. At the time of his death, Conrad was the company’s chairman of the board. He also served as chair of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association in 2007 and as National Fisheries Institute chair in 2010.

NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney called Conrad a friend and mentor who genuinely invested himself in the success of the restaurant industry.

“For those of us fortunate to have known him, this is a deep loss,” she said. “Ken was a grand, charming and kind man – and a tireless proponent of the restaurant industry.”

Conrad, who began his career as a dishwasher at age 10 and owned his first restaurant at 23, often told the story of his career to up-and-coming restaurateurs and offered advice on how they, too, could succeed. He called the industry “a pathway to the American Dream,” but noted that hard work and perseverance were required.

“Ken was proud of that history, proud of our industry, and deeply proud of his family,” Sweeney said. “Our prayers are with them and with Ken’s wide circle of friends at this time.”

In addition to his work to better the industry, Conrad was also active in charitable activities, such as co-founding the Greensboro Urban Ministries Thanksgiving meal, which provided meals for those in need on Thanksgiving Day for more than 30 years.

Conrad is survived by his wife, Lee; children Leslie, Ashley, Christian and Justin; five grandchildren, his sister, Kathryn, and brother, David.

Memorials may be sent to the Red Dog Farm, 5836 Burmil Club Rd., Greensboro, N.C., 27410 or to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 1500 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, Calif., 90266. Online condolences may be posted here.

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