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September 14, 2005

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Publication Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Obituary: William Scandling, co-founder, Saga Corp. Obituary: William Scandling, co-founder, Saga Corp. (September 14, 2005)

William F. Scandling, an Atherton resident and cofounder of Saga Corp., a college foodservice and catering business, died August 22 in Montreal following a brief illness. He was 83.

Mr. Scandling grew up in Rochester, New York, and served in the Pacific theater for the Army Air Force during World War II.

With help from the GI Bill, he attended Hobart College in Geneva, New York, where he and two of his classmates took on several entrepreneurial enterprises.

During his junior year, Mr. Scandling, W. Price Laughlin and Harry W. Anderson took over the Hobart dining hall. They did so well that they were awarded a contract to run the dining hall at Hobart's sister school, William Smith College.

After graduating in 1949, they chose the name Saga and eventually expanded the corporation into one of the country's leading foodservice companies, serving 458 colleges in the United States and Canada. Saga expanded into hospital and corporate foodservice, and owned numerous restaurant chains, including Straw Hat Pizza, Velvet Turtle and MacArthur Park.

In 1962, Saga's national headquarters opened in Menlo Park.

Mr. Scandling served as Saga Corp.'s president from 1968 to 1978. He said that one of his proudest achievements was in 1984, when Saga was named one of the 100 best companies in America to work for, according to his family.

He fiercely contested the 1986 hostile takeover of Saga by Marriott Corp. and wrote about it in a 1994 book, "The Saga of Saga: the Life and Death of an American Dream."

He was a volunteer and leading philanthropist at Hobart and William Smith colleges, contributing more than $33 million. He served on the board of trustees for more than three decades and as its chair from 1972 to 1983.

Three years after the 1990 death of his wife, Margaret, he made a series of gifts to her alma mater, the University of Rochester; the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development is named in her memory.

Mr. Scandling contributed to many other educational institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, Deep Springs College, the Salk Institute and Northern Arizona University.

He is survived by his wife of 10 years, Yvette Scandling, and his son, Michael Scandling. A private memorial service at the former Saga headquarters in Menlo Park is set for October 22.

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