Frank Gabriel Donio, a 45-year veteran of the produce industry and former
president of Frank Donio Inc. in Hammonton, NJ, died Saturday, Jan. 1, at
home. The cause of death was not immediately determined but might have
been a heart attack, according to his son James.
His father, also called Frank, founded Frank Donio Inc. in 1933. The company
has grown into a major grower, shipper and distributor of a full line of fresh
fruits and vegetables, well respected nationally and beyond for its popular
"Top Crop" label and still headquartered in the little town known as the
blueberry capital of the world.
Mr. Donio was born Nov. 9, 1938, in Hammonton, NJ, and graduated from St.
Joseph High School in 1956. He served in the reserves of the U.S. Marine
Corps from 1955 to 1964, including six months of active duty.
Mr. Donio was president of Frank Donio Inc., Donio Trucking Co. and Donio
Leasing Co. from 1990 to 1999. He joined the family organizations in 1954
when he was 16 years old, serving many years as vice president before rising
to president. He retired in 1999 from the family produce companies, and went
into the motel business until 2006.
He was the past president of the Hammonton Exchange Club, a member of
the Sons of Italy, a member of the Knights of Columbus Pallotti Council, a
former member of the Hammonton Zoning Board of Adjustment and a former
member of the board of Kessler Memorial Hospital. He coached basketball for
the Catholic Youth Organization and the Squires youth basketball team, and
he was an avid fan of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia Phillies.
His survivors include his wife of 51 years, Angela (nee Bilazzo); his sons the
Rev. Frank S. Donio, John Donio, Gabriel Donio (and his wife, Gina); and James
Donio (and his wife, Kelly); his three grandchildren, Frank, Matthew and Juliet;
his sister, Annabel Donio Arena (and her husband, Joseph); and his sister-in-
law, Diane Donio. His brother, Samuel, predeceased him.
The family suggests that donations may be made in Mr. Donio's memory to
the Anchor of Hope Foundation Inc., 101 Tilton St., Hammonton, NJ 08037.