The Tragic Death Of Subway Co-Founder And Billionaire Peter Buck

Dr. Peter Buck, the co-founder and initial investor in Subway, died on Thursday, November 18 at the age of 90. In a statement shared with CNN John Chidsey, the current CEO of Subway, said, "We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of Subway's founders, Dr. Peter Buck. He was a shining example of a dedicated, hands-on leader, and an integral member of the Subway family."

As CBS reports, Dr. Buck was born in 1930 in South Portland, Maine. He studied at Bowdoin College before pursuing his master's and doctoral degrees at Columbia University. In 1965, he had established his career as a nuclear physicist designing both nuclear submarines and working for General Electric. However, a friendly investment landed him at the helm of a sandwich shop's founding. The initial investment cost $1,000 while his net worth when he died was estimated to be around $1.7 billion.

Still, for a co-founder of an international brand, Dr. Buck preferred to not draw attention to himself, it seems. In 2017, The New York Post noted that he was "rarely quoted."

How Subway was founded

"I was twice his age — I was 34," Dr. Peter Buck recalled in a McConnellHauser-made trailer for Subway (YouTube). The younger partner was Fred DeLuca, then a college freshman who would later become the long-running boss that held the brand together. The Houston Chronicle writes that Dr. Buck and his then-wife Haydee Pinero Buck bumped into Sal and Carmela DeLuca in a supermarket. They were later invited to a party, became friends, and Dr. Buck got to know their son Fred DeLuca.

The story, as Business Insider tells it, is that DeLuca had to find a way to pay for the University of Bridgeport's tuition fees. Dr. Buck suggested a sandwich shop and wrote a $1,000 check that same day. Just as he would have opinions on how to run the brand in his eighties, Dr. Buck from the beginning found himself visiting the DeLucas on Monday nights for spaghetti and meatballs and business planning. DeLuca ran the company until his death in 2015, but Dr. Buck was always a present if less publicized presence.