Joseph Maranto owned imported foods store

December 13, 1993|By Karen Zeiler | Karen Zeiler,Contributing Writer

Joseph Maranto, who owned and operated an imported foods store on Ensor Street for more than 25 years, died Thursday of pneumonia at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 92.

Maranto and Co. of Old Town imported specialty foods from all over Europe, specializing in products from Italy, Greece and Spain.

The store carried an assortment of imported oils, tomatoes, cheeses, macaroni products, cold cuts and gourmet cookies, said Mr. Maranto's son, Joseph Maranto, of Towson.

"My dad sold more macaroni products than anybody in the city. He had hundreds of varieties, arranged in bins that covered one whole side of the store," he said.

Mr. Maranto supplied Little Italy restaurants and area hotels, including the Lord Baltimore, the Sheraton and the Belvedere.

In 1947, he bought the corner gourmet grocery store on Ensor Street and renamed it Maranto and Co.

For years his store was listed in several specialty foods magazines, his son said.

Fondly known as "Mr. Joe," Mr. Maranto provided foods to families in New York and Pennsylvania. He also shipped foods to families in Princeton, W.Va., and Cincinnati.

He closed the store and retired in 1973 when the building was demolished to make way for the Old Town renovation.

Mr. Maranto had lived in Hamilton for past 63 years.

He was born in New York, but at age 6 went to Italy with his family when it returned there. He was raised and educated in Italy. He earned a certificate in accounting from the University of Palermo in 1921.

In 1922 he returned to the United States and settled in Baltimore, where he began his career in the retail and wholesale food business.

He worked briefly for a macaroni factory in Baltimore and later for a several of downtown grocery stores that were family-owned.

A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 9:30 a.m. today at St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church, 5310 Harford Road.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 64 years, the former Frances T. DiGiovanni of Hamilton; another son, Leonard Maranto of Towson; a brother, Luigi Maranto of Cefalu, Sicily; two sisters, Elvira and Anna Maranto, both of Cefalu, Sicily; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

The family suggests memorial donations to Good Samaritan Hospital.

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