WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- William "Bill" Krause, the co-founder of Iowa-based convenience store chain Kum & Go, died Wednesday from cancer, according to his son.
Kyle Krause, the current store CEO, said his father died at his West Des Moines home surrounded by family after being diagnosed with recurring bladder cancer several weeks ago. He was 78.
William Krause is recognized as a pioneer in developing the convenience store format. He opened a family-owned store in 1959 and expanded on the idea that customers could buy milk, bread and eggs at the same place as their gasoline.
"At that point in time, selling gasoline and snicker bars at the same time, it wasn't an everyday occurrence," his son said.
The younger Krause said his father had a passion for people and his employees. He retired from the company in 2003, but continued to visit the office and stores around Iowa and surrounding states.
"He had passion for the business and despite his retirement, certainly for the first few years it was kind of hard to tell if he was retired or not retired," said Kyle Krause.
The elder Krause was a member of many philanthropic boards and community organizations, and his strong support for the University of Iowa included a $5 million donation toward the renovation of Kinnick Stadium.
Kum & Go is the country's fifth largest privately held convenience store chain. The West Des Moines-based company operates more than 420 stores in 11 states.
Krause is survived by his wife, Nancy, two sons, a daughter and 12 grandchildren. Information about funeral services was not available.