Thomas F. “Tom” Romano, 78, of Arcadia, Fla., passed away Wednesday, March 19, 2014, surrounded by his family.
He was born Aug. 15, 1935, in Troy, N.Y.
Tom served in the U.S. Marines as a Sergeant from 1953 until 1956. He was a Korean War Veteran. Following his return from Korea, he attended Delhi University in New York, and received his degree in food service. While at Delhi, he was also an accomplished collegiate basketball player. He moved his family out to the Midwest to begin his food-service career with Howard Johnson. In a few short years, he was chosen to open the first Ground Round restaurant in Norridge, Ill. In 1971, Tom was asked to relocate his family to Western, N.Y., to oversee the opening of several Ground Round restaurants. Tom quickly became the regional director, and became known as “Mr. Ground Round.” He continued to work in the food-service industry until he retired in 1998. Soon after his retirement, he and his wife Margaret relocated to Arcadia Village in 2002. Tom picked up where he left off and helped with food services for holiday and special-occasion events at Arcadia Village.
Tom was one who liked to talk, and never was at a loss for words. He could meet you and, within minutes, you felt like you knew him a lifetime. Because of this, he was often referred to as “The Mayor of Arcadia Village.” Tom’s mornings started by having a cup of coffee that could make most people sprout hair on their chest. He then would read the paper twice, while watching the news on television. If you were fortunate enough to have coffee with him, he would enthusiastically tell about what was going on in the world, so that you didn’t have to read the paper. Tom always expressed how much he enjoyed playing shuffleboard with his friends. He was passionate about woodworking, and making arts and crafts. It gave him great joy to make something for his children, but he saved his best for his grandchildren. Tom couldn’t wait to surprise them with something so that he could see the look on their faces and feel their excitement. In the end, with his family at his side, he passed away as he lived, by exhibiting a sense of strength and toughness as he took his last breath.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Margaret Doty Romano of Arcadia; sons, Michael (Sharon) Romano of Orlando, Fla., Patrick Romano of Lakeland, Fla., and Dr. James (Patricia) Romano of Johnson, N.Y.; daughter, Marcy (Jeff) Kral of Irving, N.Y.; brother, Frank (Judy) Romano of Georgia; grandchildren; Tiffany (Andres) Aguado, Michael (Lynn) Romano, Taylor Romano, Connor Romano, Joseph Kral, Jake Romano and Jeremy Kral; and great-grandchildren, Bryson, Mia and Luke. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Anna Romano; and his sister, Frances Jewett.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Tom’s name to: Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675. Online condolences can be made at www.pongerkaysgrady.com.
Arrangements are by Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Home, Arcadia.