Family members and friends of Jeff Dodge, the longtime owner of Ramos Pizza in Lincoln, Nebraska, gathered on May 15 to pay tribute to the beloved pizzaiolo and musician, who died of natural causes on May 6.
Dodge bought Ramos Pizza in 1993 and, 10 years later, merged the pizzeria with Buster’s Barbecue & Brew. He also introduced a unique specialty pizza featuring pepperoni with cream cheese—touted on Ramos Pizza’s website as “world-famous”—to the Lincoln area.
The memorial gathering took place at Rosie’s Bar and Grill, with food provided by the team at Ramos Pizza.
“In true Dodge fashion, we are continuing business as usual, because he wouldn’t want it any other way,” a May 8 post on the pizzeria’s Facebook page stated. “Please be patient with us as we work through our loss, and we ask that everyone be respectful and courteous to all of Jeff’s friends and family and allow them time to grieve. Jeff, we will miss you, and, although your Ramos family is sad and full of tears right now, we will make sure you’re proud of the legacy you left behind as you watch over us.”
Dodge played the trumpet and was a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Marching Band in college, according to KLKN.
“He ran his pizza shop like a small-town mom and pop pizza shop,” Dale Bailey, who worked for Dodge for 29 years, told KLKN. “And he treated us all like family….You could just talk to him about things, life issues. And if you had problems, you’d go talk to him.”
Bailey said Dodge would expect Ramos Pizza to keep operating without him. “He would want Ramos to continue on in the way that he built it up to be. He wouldn’t want it to change to anything else. And that’s all we’re trying to do.”