Longo's co-founder Tommy Longo, 1934 - 2011

1/31/2011

Tommy Longo, the eldest of the three brothers who founded Longo’s grocery stores, passed away over the weekend.

After a brief battle with leukemia, Longo succumbed to the disease on Sunday in Toronto. He was 76.

Considered the patriarch of the Longo family, he founded Longo Brothers Fruit Markets with his brothers Joe and Gus. They opened their first fruit market together in 1956–a 1,500-square-foot store on Toronto’s Yonge Street.

The company has since expanded to 23 locations within the Greater Toronto Area and more than 4,000 employees. It remains family owned and operated.

A release from Longo’s today said “Whether was dealing with a friend, a team member, a customer or a vendor, he always ensured his decisions were based on doing the right thing with a focus on long-term strategy.” He was known for sealing a deal with a handshake.

In 2005, Tommy, Joe and Gus were made lifetime members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.

Born on September 25, 1934 in Termini Imerese, Sicily, Longo grew up helping on his father’s farm. It was there that he learned about ‘doing things the right way.’ In 1950, he immigrated to Canada.

Tommy is survived by Gus, his youngest brother, with whom he worked for more than 50 years. (Their brother Joe passed away in 2008.) Longo is also survived by his wife of 51 years, Zina, as well as four children (Anthony, Joey, Rosie and Marie) and 13 grandchildren.

Visitation will be held at the Woodbridge Chapel of Ward Funeral Home (4671 Highway #7) on Monday, January 31 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Tuesday, February 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The funeral mass will be held in Woodbridge at St. Clare of Assisi Parish (150 Saint Francis Avenue) on Wednesday February 2 at 10 a.m. The burial will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery (8361 Yonge Street at Hwy 407) in Thornhill.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Princess Margaret Hospital (Leukemia Research) in Tommy Longo’s name. Online condolences can be offered at  www.longos.com.

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