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Rose Lombardo, a founding owner of Hertel Avenue restaurant Nov. 14, 1924 -- Nov. 11, 2007

Rose Lombardo, one of the founding owners of Ristorante Lombardo on Hertel Avenue, died Sunday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Town of Tonawanda. She was 82.

Born Rose Palmeri in Buffalo, she was a graduate of Grover Cleveland High School.

Mrs. Lombardo; her husband, Thomas J. Sr.; and their son Thomas J. Jr., founded Lombardo Ristorante in 1975. According to her son Thomas, Mrs. Lombardo's main interest before going into the restaurant business was in being a homemaker.

"When the restaurant opened up, she was a driving force behind making it successful," he said. "She was good at making sure we got the best product at the right price."

Early on in the restaurant's history, Mrs. Lombardo's family recipes figured prominently on the Ristorante Lombardo menu, particularly her sauces.

"That was back when we first opened and we were more of a family restaurant. Now we're more upscale," her son added.

Mrs. Lombardo retired from the business in 2000 and spent much of her time with her grandchildren. Her husband of 49 years died in 2004.

She was a longtime member of St. Mark Catholic Church.

She is survived by two sons, Joseph and Thomas J. Jr.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in St. Mark Church, Amherst Street and Woodward Avenue.


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