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Thursday, December 6, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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John Meaker was famed for restaurants, flavorings

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TACOMA — John Edgehill Meaker, an English butcher's son who opened a number of restaurants and built a thriving spice-and-seasoning supply house, is dead at age 96.

Mr. Meaker, a Chicago native who moved to the Puget Sound region with his family at age 10, died Sunday.

His father, Albert, had a butcher shop that supplied meat to ships' chandlers, a restaurant in Seattle and, during construction of Grand Coulee Dam in the 1930s, a second restaurant in Grand Coulee.

Johnny Meaker opened his first restaurant, Crawford's Sea Grill, near the downtown Seattle ferry terminal in 1940. Four years later, he sold that operation and opened another under the same name in Tacoma.

In 1952, he sold the second Crawford's and in 1954 opened Johnny's Dock on the Tacoma Tideflats. The restaurant was destroyed by a fire in 1961 and was rebuilt; it was moved to a new location after 1977 and is owned by John Crabill, one of his grandsons, and Dave Bingham.

In 1955, Mr. Meaker and his wife, Bea, began developing a line of seasoning salts and spices, starting with the Original Johnny's Seasoning Salt.

Products now include salad dressings, teriyaki sauce, marinades, spices and other foods that are sold on the Internet and distributed throughout the western United States and Canada.

At Mr. Meaker's request, no funeral is planned.

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