Photo Gallery | Memphis pie legends remembered on ‘National Pi Day’
National Pi Day is among us, and for math geeks or pie enthusiasts alike - it is a day worth celebrating.
So why not include Memphis trivia fans in the equation?
A Mid-South family once ran a pie business in Memphis for decades until selling the company to Fairmont Foods.
Rubye and Maurice Keathley began making pies in their Midtown Memphis home in the 1930s, according to the Cooper-Young newspaper The Lamplighter.
They would sell the pies for 5 cents. The pie business began in 1930, when Maurice was laid off from the Ford Motor Company.
“So while eating the little pie, which by the way was the best that anyone could make, a thought came that Rubye and I would start making pies – Rubye was such a good cook,” said Maurice in his autobiography.
He used his last check to buy supplies, and set up shop in Cooper-Young. Maurice purchased a truck and painted yellow and blue with "Keathley Homemade Pies" on the side.
They were selling 600 pies a day in Memphis, according to The Lamplighter.
For decades, the business became an enormous success. According to Historic Memphis, in the 1940s they were selling vending machine pies in 26 states.
Then they opened their popular Town and Country restaurant.
Maurice became known as the "Fried Pie King" nationally. By the 1960s, the company was s producing 600,000 to 700,000 five to fifteen cent packages of merchandise per day. The product line included brownies, fig bars, cookie sandwiches as well as pecan, coconut and German chocolate pies.
Maurice sold Keathley's, Inc. to Fairmont Foods in 1970 for stock. Maurice and Rubye died almost nearly a decade later.
The Pie Factory Lofts in Cooper-Young stand on the site of the former Keathley Pie Factory.