Ray Wessel

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Raymond J. "Grandpa" Wessel (1905-2003) was the longtime co-owner, along with his son Bill, of Jerry's Drive-In. He moved his family to Pensacola from Indiana in the early 1950s and purchased the restaurant, which was opened by Jerry Glass in 1939.

After about 45 years of operating the popular eatery, Wessel sold the restaurant to Robert, Jimmy and Pam Halstead in June 1997, but maintained a residence in the upstairs apartment. When the building caught fire in May 1999, a restaurant worker had to run upstairs to evacuate Wessel. "I sure hate for it to happen," Wessel said of the blaze. "With all of our family, it's been like a second home. If they didn't have a job, they wanted to come and work for Grandpa for a while."[1]

In his later years, Wessel would take twice-weekly bus trips to the casinos in Biloxi.[2] He passed away on August 22, 2003.


  • "'Grandpa' Wessel, longtime owner of Jerry's Drive In, dies." Pensacola News Journal, August 25, 2003.
  1. "Fire closes Jerry's for few weeks." Pensacola News Journal, May 16, 1999.
  2. "Jerry's Drive-In's Ray Wessel celebrates 97 at the casinos." Pensacola News Journal, September 8, 2002.