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MAY 23, 1920 -- JULY 17, 2004

Josephine Lazzaro, a 70-year food service veteran who stayed on the job until she became ill July 9, died Saturday in Millard Fillmore Hospital. She was 84.

Born Josephine Marino in Sicily, she came to Buffalo in 1923 and, after finishing eighth grade, entered the food service industry. She worked at such legendary establishments as the Statler Hilton, Chez Ami, Town Casino, Glen Casino, Ellis Club and Colonial House.

A supervisor for Your Host restaurants in the 1960s, she was featured in the chain's television commercials. Around that time, she also opened Lazzaro's on Walden Avenue -- the first of a series of restaurants she owned.

After a brief retirement, Mrs. Lazzaro, who lived in Depew, returned to the trade as a cafeteria worker at Tops Markets' former Dingens Street headquarters. She went on to other jobs at Boston Market, Shettler's Restaurant, Marriott Corp. and, most recently, Sodexho Corp.'s cafeteria operation at Fleet Financial Services in West Seneca.

Her husband, Nunzio "Gene," died in 1984.

Survivors include a daughter, Rose Marie of Depew; three sons, Philip of the Town of Tonawanda, Ignatius of Grand Island and Eugene of Orchard Park; a brother, Salvatore Marino; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Wednesday in St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, Cheektowaga.


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