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Frank Donio dies at age 72

by Gordon M. Hochberg | January 03, 2011
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.