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Michael J. Tronolone, Army veteran, carpet retailer Oct. 31, 1927 -- Aug. 5, 2011

Michael J. Tronolone owned a retail carpet store whose business cards promised "red-carpet service." Known as "Mike the Carpet Man," he even made house calls, taking carpet samples with him to his customers' homes.

"There's two ways to do things: the right way and all those other ways," he often quipped.

Mr. Tronolone, a retired salesman, businessman and U.S. Army veteran, died Friday in the Delaware Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Buffalo, after a long illness. He was 83.

Born in a four-story brick tenement house on the former State Street in Buffalo's Little Italy district, just steps from what's now the Erie Canal Harbor, Mr. Tronolone graduated from Nativity School and McKinley High School.

From 1950 to 1952, at the beginning of the Cold War, he served with the Army's 2nd Armored Division, known as "Hell on Wheels," part of NATO's forces stationed in West Germany.

After returning from Germany, he began his career as a carpet salesman in the old Kobackers Department Store on Main Street downtown and then Allen's Rug Mart on Main Street.

In 1969, Mr. Tronolone founded Carpets by Michel Inc., a retail carpet store on the Franklin Street site now housing the Buffalo Chop House. Earning a reputation for quality products and services, he worked with the city's best interior designers and architects. His client list included Buffalo's most prestigious retail stores and developments, such as L.L. Berger, Gutman's, One M&T Plaza and Marine Midland Center.

An early and avid booster of downtown Buffalo, Mr. Tronolone was on the board of directors of the Greater Buffalo Ad Club. He also was a past member of the Buffalo Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and the downtown branch of the Knights of Columbus.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Loretta Rose; two sons, John and Paul; a brother, Anthony; and a sister, Madeline Perna.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 85 Dakota Ave., Buffalo.

[g/warner]

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