Keweenaw residents say goodbye to long time friend and fellow community member Pat Campioni, who died Monday at his winter home in Florida.
A third generation grocer, Campioni was the name sake of Pats foods, a chain of nine Upper Peninsula stores still owned and operated by the family today.
His first grocery store opened in Hancock in 1976, and since then folks in the Keweenaw have come to know Pat’s Foods as a household name.
Long time employee, Bill Karry worked at that store over forty years ago and recalls his former boss as a kind and caring man. “He was more of a friend, then a boss most of the time,” said Karry. “I wouldn’t have been here so long if he wasn’t one of the best guys I’ve ever known.”
“As a younger guy just getting married, he helped me out a couple of times when I really needed some help for my family. He was always there for me,” Karry added.
Now a store manager in Hancock, Karry recalls working closely with Pat early in his career and describes him as very driven and attributes much of the store’s success to that trait.
“Pat used to work, Pat and Jan, 7 days a week they’d work and we finally got the money together and built this one up here. “
The stores have been run by Campioni’s sons for several years as he’s enjoyed retirement. He was 76 years old and was with family when he passed.