Anthony Cusimano

The produce manager ran a store started by his father on Lombard Street and later worked at Eddie's of Roland Park.

November 29, 2008|By David Kohn | David Kohn,

Anthony Cusimano, who worked for much of his life in a produce and food market on Lombard Street, died Nov. 21 of respiratory failure. He was 80.

Mr. Cusimano, who was known as Tony, was born in Baltimore in 1928. He left school after the eighth grade to work in his father's store on Corned Beef Row on Lombard Street. Known as Tony's Market, the place sold retail and wholesale produce. During Mr. Cusimano's younger years, Lombard Street was a thriving commercial strip. The market sold goods to many of Baltimore's well-known restaurants, including Sabatino's and Caesar's Den.

"Sundays used to be the busiest day of the week," said his son, Fred Cusimano of Bel Air. "It was a huge day."

When he was 20, Mr. Cusimano married Brigid Giammona. The couple had known each other since they were children and had been sweethearts since their midteens.

In 1950, they moved from an apartment above the store to a house in Gardenville. Mrs. Cusimano still lives there.

In the early 1970s, Mr. Cusimano took over the market from his father.

Mr. Cusimano got up at 2 a.m. seven days a week to buy produce at the wholesale market, relative said. He took a two-hour nap in the afternoon and worked until the market closed at 11 p.m. Sometimes he took off Wednesday afternoons for outings with his family.

"His whole life was his children and his work," Mrs. Cusimano said.

"He was a very simple man, a very hard-working man. He was a rock," his son said.

Over the years, the area deteriorated. In the early 1990s, Mr. Cusimano closed the market and went to work as a produce manager for Eddie's of Roland Park. About 10 years ago, he retired.

He loved to fish, and after retiring, he fished often. On vacations, he and his wife would go to Atlantic City, N.J. Before dawn, he would drive to Wildwood, N.J., and spend the day fishing on a charter boat, returning in the evening. She spent the day walking the boardwalk and gambling. When he returned, they'd go to dinner and see a show.

"He was a very unselfish man," said his son. Fred Cusimano recalled that when he decided he wanted to go to graduate school, his father didn't have any qualms about paying for it.

Mr. Cusimano was buried Wednesday at Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Baltimore.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Cusimano is survived by a daughter, Gloria Cusimano of Perry Hall.

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