Charles Jordan Jr. of Amherst, the first African-American to own a McDonald's restaurant in Buffalo, died Sunday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 85.
Born in Cleveland, Mr. Jordan spent his childhood and most of his early adult life in the Chicago suburb of Maywood, Ill. He was involved in a variety of business ventures throughout his career.
At age 11, Mr. Jordan learned plastering from his father and eventually went into business for himself as a plasterer and construction contractor. He then went on to become a maintenance supervisor for the Chicago Board of Education and simultaneously attended barber school before opening his own barber shop. He also spent many years working as a parole agent and supervisor for the Illinois Department of Corrections helping to find jobs for ex-prisoners.
Mr. Jordan joined the McDonald's organization in 1975 and two years later moved to Buffalo, where he opened his own McDonald's franchise at East Delavan Avenue and Grider Street, the first of its kind in the city to be owned by an African-American.
Mr. Jordan sold the business back to the McDonald's Corp. four years later and went on to a varied career operating his own construction company, Charles Jordan Enterprises. He was one of the contractors who worked on the construction of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Metro Rail line. Mr. Jordan also purchased an 18-wheeler, which he used to transport food for various companies. Through his company, he also hired other drivers and more recently he worked for an auto dealership in Niagara County for which he delivered cars. He retired in 2005.
Mr. Jordan joined St. John Baptist Church in 1979.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Eunice L. Proctor; a son, Charles III; three daughters, Sandra J., Lisa Marie and Tracy Cardwell; and a sister, Barbara Woods.
His funeral will be Friday in St. John Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St. A wake will be held at 11 a.m.