Ralph A. Turgeon, who went from dishwasher and broiler cook to one of Western New York's premier restaurateurs, died Thursday at his Williamsville home after a long battle with cancer.
Turgeon, 72, owned 22 restaurants and 4 hotels during a career that spanned 57 years. He was best known for the creation of unusual steakhouse and salad bar operations in multiple-themed restaurants.
He and his brother, Frank, owned the original Sign of the Steer on Main Street, believed to be the region's first steakhouse, and more recently, the Riverside Inn in Lewiston.
Active in civic organizations and the local restaurant community, Turgeon was honored this year with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York State Restaurant Association.
A life remembrance service for friends and family will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the chapel of Forest Lawn. A funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. Monday in North Presbyterian Church, 300 N. Forest Road, Amherst. Burial will be in Forest Lawn.