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Joseph Azzolina, president of Food Circus Supermarkets, a 10-store chain in the Monmouth County, NJ, area, died Thursday, April 15, at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York. He was 84 years old. The Middletown, NJ, resident had battled cancer for a number of years.

Born Jan. 26, 1926, in Newark, NJ, Mr. Azzolina served in the New Jersey Senate and New Jersey Assembly from 1965 to 2006. He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, serving in the U.S. Navy for more than 40 years, retiring with the rank of captain, according to published reports.

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a supermarket industry leader, Joe Azzolina. He was a wonderful family man, a great friend to many, a successful and hardworking businessman, a dedicated statesman, and a proud Navy captain," Food Marketing Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie G. Sarasin said in an April 19 statement. “Joe was a valuable contributor to our industry and served on the FMI board of directors for 17 years. He was always generous with his time and was happy to share his knowledge and experience as an independent operator. On behalf of FMI, I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife, Roselyn, and their children. He will be greatly missed.”

Joe DeLorenzo worked at Food Circus for 23 years, including as director of produce, before becoming director of produce merchandising and operations for Alpha 1 Marketing in White Plains, NY, in late 2004.

“Joe was always busy, always involved in many things that he loved: his business, his politics and the Navy,” Mr. DeLorenzo told The Produce News April 21. “Produce was very important” to Mr. Azzolina, and “he supported his employees 100 percent.”

Mr. Azzolina is survived by his wife, Roselyn, whom he married in 1954; his children, John, Joseph Jr., Mark, Gregory, Judy and Mary Ann; three grandchildren; and a number of nieces and nephews. His sister, Grace, and another son, Paul, predeceased him.