Founder of Iconic Noah’s Ark Restaurant Dies at 93, Brought Smiles–and Pizza–to Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The founder of Noah's Ark restaurant died on Wednesday at 93 years old.

A Des Moines original, Noah Lacona brought another specialty to Des Moines: pizza.

Lacona first tried the dish in Milwaukee, right after the war, and decided it would be something good to introduce to his restaurant in 1946.

Interested customers were initially confused by the ingredients, but eventually came to enjoy the food that so many of us know and love.

While Lacona is best known for his restaurant, it is only one chapter in his very full life.

After graduating from Lincoln High School, he worked at a San Francisco shipyard and helped build the USS Cascade. He also served with the U.S. Army's Third Division in World War II. Lacona drove race cars in the Can-Am Series and helped induct actor Paul Newman into the Les Chevaliers of auto racing.

Lacona is survived by his wife Sally. The two were married for 75 years.

*Video is from a 2014 newscast.