March 28 was a solemn day at the Everett AquaSox office.
There had been a death.
Food was quickly gathered for a wake of sorts.
Everyone took a moment to reflect.
I mean, who hadn’t eaten an Egg McMuffin in their lifetime?
The man behind the famous breakfast sandwich, Herb Peterson, died that week.
Was Peterson a baseball fan?
Did he live in Everett?
Was he at every hilarious San Diego Chicken game at Memorial Stadium?
Nope, but there was an AquaSox connection: Pat Dillon, play-by-play announcer for the team, was trained by Peterson when he worked at McDonald’s in Santa Barbara, Calif.
It was enough of a tie for everyone in the baseball office to bow their heads and scarf some Canadian bacon, egg and cheese.
In June, 1980, before his sophomore year in high school, Dillon rode his bike to the fast food joint and got a job. Peterson owned several stores in the area.
A hands on, energetic man, Peterson showed the teens how to make 659 burgers topped with freeze-dried onions in a hour, that sort of thing.
“Herb was nice,” Dillon said. “He was very encouraging, friendly, chatty and almost always seemed to be in good spirits.”
Peterson was a snappy dresser, said the family man who is also director of corporate sales and broadcasting for the team. Dillon said Peterson wore sports coats, country club attire, like Ted Knight in “Caddyshack.”
And Peterson, 89, was a neat nut. Something Dillon was reacquainted with when he spent four years in the Navy, before attending the University of Washington.
Dillon’s old teacher also wrote McDonald’s first national advertising slogan, “Where Quality Starts Fresh Every Day.”
But his claim to fame was the McMuffin, consisting of an egg cooked in a Teflon circle with the yolk broken, topped with a slice of cheese and grilled Canadian bacon, served on an English muffin.
Peterson still visited all six of his stores in the Santa Barbara area until his health deteriorated last year. There is a plaque in the store where Dillon worked, crediting Peterson for his breakfast sandwich.
A public memorial service will be held April 23 at All Saints by the Sea church in Montecito, Calif.
I don’t know what food they will be serving, but I have a suggestion.
One nice thing Peterson did for McDonald’s employees such as Pat Dillon was to cook French fries.
“He could often be seen dropping another basket into the deep-fryer, or scooping them into containers for the staff who worked at the front counter.”
Corporate didn’t supply Clearasil.
Columnist Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, firstname.lastname@example.org.