SAN DIEGO — Private funeral services were held here last week for Sol Price, the founder of the discount membership warehouse-club concept. Price died last week of natural causes at age 93. A public memorial will be held early next year. Jim Sinegal, president and chief executive officer of Costco Wholesale Club, Issaquah, Wash., called Price “one of the greatest merchants of the 20th century.” Price, a locally based attorney, opened the first Price Club in 1976, based on his longtime opposition to price fixing and fair-trade laws that made discounting illegal. He initially put his ideas into practice in 1954 when he developed FedMart — the nation's first membership discount chain, which was open only to government employees. Price sold his stake in FedMart in 1975 and developed the membership wholesale club in a 100,000-square-foot price-oriented warehouse located in a former aircraft hangar in an industrial area of the city here. As Price Club expanded, the format called for remote, usually secondary real estate locations, with concrete floors, high ceilings and steel racks four levels high, offering large pack sizes in a no-frills atmosphere. “We never advertised sales,” Price explained years later. “We just always tried to carry honest merchandise at an honest price. I've always felt we had an obligation to our members to get them the best goods at the best price and not try to take an extra nickel out of them.” In 1983, some former Price Club executives opened their own venture in the Seattle area, called Costco. The two clubs merged in 1993.