Luke A. Marano, Sr. of Philadelphia, died at Foulkeways in Gwynedd on April 21. He was 94 years old.
Marano was the first son of Vincent and Antoinette Marano. He was born and raised in Chestnut Hill. Growing up, he worked at Caruso’s Market, a multigenerational family business in Chestnut Hill (where Weavers Way Chestnut Hill is today). It was there that he developed his intense love of work and entrepreneurial spirit. Ever the dedicated worker, Marano continued to work until his 93rd birthday
The opportunity to test himself as a businessman came in 1960, when he purchased his family’s troubled Philadelphia Macaroni Company (PMC). Wise investments in raw materials and a timely government contract gave life to the business that he loved. Luke’s ability to innovate contributed to new opportunities with global food companies, resulting in the growth of his business.
The ability to adapt to change and be creative became the distinguishing characteristics of his company and kept it thriving. At 73, Luke began Minot Milling, a specialty flour milling business and part of PMC that he considered to be the “jewel” in his business crown. In 2014, PMC further distinguished Luke’s leadership by celebrating 100 years as a family-owned business.
The National Pasta Association (NPA), an industry group that Marano worked with to advance the promotion and safeguarding of pasta, was a focal point in his life. He understood the importance of being a steward and was dedicated to developing a healthy industry resulting in his election to Chairman of the NPA. The Association provided him the opportunity to travel the world and realize the promotion of pasta worldwide. This led to the creation of the International Pasta Organization and his proudest achievement of being awarded National Pasta Association “Pasta Man of the Year” in 1992.
In his private life, Marano was married to Yolanda Lombardi Marano for 54 years and the couple had seven children. As a father, he was incredibly supportive and wanted the best for his children. He stressed the importance of integrity and the futility in taking shortcuts. He was direct with his guidance and generous with forgiveness. After Yolanda’s death, Marano created a life with his fiancée Claire Dickson in a loving relationship lasting more than 17 years.
Although Marano suffered from dementia in the last two years, he was always able to celebrate his family’s success and good fortune with pride, happiness and gratitude.
He is survived by Dickson, his children: Lucy Sandifer (Andrew DeCicco), Lisa, Stephanie Stabert (William), Luke (Cynthia), Mark and Mia. He also is survived by 15 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren, his brother, Joseph Marano. He was predeceased by his wife, Yolanda and his daughter, Suzanne Urban (William) his sister Mary Reiss and brother Vincent Marano.
Due to the unprecedented times, a memorial service will be scheduled once social distancing rules allow it. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Our Mother of Consolation, 9 E. Chestnut Hill Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 19118. (In memory of Luke A. Marano, Sr.)