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After 50 years of independent retail innovation and leadership, Russ Raybould, 92, founder of Lincoln, Neb.-based B&R Stores, died on Sept. 13. Renowned nationally for his leadership within the independent grocery sector, Raybould's B&R Stores has grown to 18 locations in seven cities across Nebraska and Iowa and employs more than 2,000 people, nearly 1,000 of which are employee owners.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah on Dec. 7, 1921, Raybould served in the United States Merchant Marines during World War II before coming to Nebraska to attend Creighton University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree. Raybold and his wife, Anita, were married in 1948.
Raybould began his career in the grocery business in 1946 and in 1957 moved to Lincoln, where he worked for Safeway. In 1964, he and partner Clayton Burnett opened B&R IGA at 17th and Washington Sts. in Lincoln. Raybould later purchased Burnett’s share of the company. In 1997, he was honored for his leadership and innovation in the grocery business with the IGA International Retailer of the Year Award.
Raybould, who knew well the importance of giving back to the communities served by B&R Stores, was an early board member of the Food Bank of Lincoln, and was instrumental in starting the community's FoodNet program. Through his support of numerous worthy causes, Raybould established a culture of giving within the company.
He served on the finance committee of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Lincoln and was active in the Knights of Columbus.
He is survived by his wife Anita, children Michael, Pat and Jane, and seven grandchildren. Memorial contributions can be made to Food Bank of Lincoln and Madonna Foundation; condolences may be made here.