REDDING, Calif. -

A Shasta County burger joint has lost its patriarch. That is how colleagues describe the Damburger owner, Ron Dickey.

Dickey died peacefully in his sleep after a long struggle with cancer on June 16.

Employees of the restaurant said the long-time owner was a leader.

Workers said he was someone the entire staff looked up to ever since he and his wife, Kathy, bought the restaurant in 1979.

Damburger, is known as a Redding staple, serving up food since opening in 1938.

Dickey took it over 24-years-ago.

Today, it is run by his family, both immediate and non-related but many employees said Dickey was seen as a father figure.

The current manager, Marla, has been at Damburger for 18-years. She said her own father passed away several years ago. Yet, there was Ron to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day.

Damburger will be closed on Dickey's birthday, Sunday, June 30, so the employees can attend his memorial service that same day.

Dickey was 68-years-old.