The Plamondon Companies announced the passing of Peter H. Plamondon, Sr. on Sunday, August 16. He was 88.
Pete Plamondon, Sr., started The Plamondon Companies 40 years ago, after spending 16 years as a corporate executive vice president for Marriott, overseeing its restaurant division. While at Marriott, he played an integral role in launching and overseeing Roy Rogers Restaurants. In following his entrepreneurial ambitions, he struck out on his own in 1979 and established Plamondon Enterprises Inc., with his first venture being the operation of the Roy Rogers on Rt. 40 in Frederick, Maryland.
From that single-unit business, he built a regional empire, branching into the lodging business in 1996 with the formation of Plamondon Hospitality Partners and creating what today consists of 49 Roy Rogers restaurants and 13 hotels located throughout the mid-Atlantic. In 1998, he sold the business to his sons, Pete Plamondon, Jr. and Jim Plamondon, but remained an active contributor and mentor as the Chairman Emeritus of the company until his death.
As a business owner, family patriarch and member of his community, Pete Sr. always maintained a people-first approach. He was ever determined to ensure that his associates knew how much he valued them, and always strove to make a personal connection with everyone he met. His involvement in the community was unrivaled, as he was a major donor and contributor, giving generously of this time, leadership and experience.
He served on countless non-profit boards throughout Frederick County and the state of Maryland. He was instrumental in organizing the Frederick Community College Hospitality Program. Under his leadership, The Plamondon Companies started its annual United Way campaign 40 years ago, always making a generous company match to complement the contributions of individual company associates. The legacy he began so long ago continues to this day and has been honored by industry and community organizations. He was the first recipient of the George Delaplaine Distinguished Citizen Award in 1996 and, along with his wife, Lorraine, was inducted as a charter member of the Duval W. Sweadner Society of the Fairfield County’s Community (FCC) Foundation and the FCC Board of Trustees in 2011. In 2017, at its annual Stars of the Industry Gala, the Restaurant Association of Maryland presented Plamondon with the Brice & Shirley Phillips Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, the Frederick County United Way bestowed him with its first ‘Red Feather’ United Way Award, acknowledging his personal and organizational commitment to the organization.
Frederick County Chamber of Commerce CEO Rick Weldon described Plamondon as one of a group of business owners who helped shaped the county’s business community, and remember him as being very focused on family – both his personal family and the bigger one consisting of all the associates of his company. He left an “almost immeasurable” legacy in the Frederick County business community, Weldon said.
Plamondon was born in Evanston, Ill., in 1931, the third child of William Nelson Plamondon and Elizabeth (“Betty”) Hauck. His family relocated to Vero Beach, Florida, in 1948. While there, Plamondon was introduced to the hospitality industry, working at The Windswept Hotel, which his father owned. He graduated in 1954 from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, where he had served as president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity and was a catcher on the baseball team. He married Lorraine Pietryka on August 20, 1955, and served in the U.S. Army as First Lieutenant at Fort McPherson, Georgia, in a management role at the Officers’ Club. He began his life-long career in the hospitality business at the food service division of Stouffer in Newark, New Jersey,, and joined the Marriott Corporation in 1965 to help launch its fast-food division, beginning with Hot Shoppes Jr., an offshoot of the Hot Shoppes family-dining chain that eventually was rebranded as Roy Rogers Restaurants.
“My father was a great guy, and a great role model as well. Tough to measure up to. He created a wonderful organization,” says his son, Jim Plamondon.
“We have a business that is 40 years old thanks to Dad taking the chance after leaving a huge job at Marriott,” adds Pete Plamondon Jr. “We were so very blessed to have him as a father, mentor and great man of faith. He left behind a huge legacy.”