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Perrone & Sons’ Randy Perrone Dies At Age 30

Perrone & Sons family shot

Last updated on April 24th, 2013 at 03:45 pm

Randall (Randy) Willliam Perrone of Louisiana’s Perrone & Sons Inc. died Feb. 27 at age 30. According to his brother, Russell, Perrone passed away following complications from surgery for a pineal brain tumor. Perrone was diagnosed with the tumor Jan. 13.

“The prognosis was a great one, with confidence from the doctors that he would be treated via surgery and chemo/radiation without any major complications,” Russell, who serves as executive sales manager of the company, told The Shelby Report in an email.

However, while recovering from the eight-hour-long surgery, Perrone’s brain started to swell, causing a heart attack and resulting in major brain damage. Perrone was taken off life support at a Houston hospital two days after the surgery, Russell said. More than 30 family members and friends surrounded his hospital bed with love, prayers, music and stories of the life shared with him.

Randy Perrone
Randy Perrone

Perrone’s love for all things innocent was evidenced in his giving nature, his obituary reads. When he saw a dog that had been hit by a car, he went to protect the dog from other vehicles and cried with sorrow after he moved the animal from the road. When with his brother one blustery, rainy day, they saw an elderly person at a bus stop and gave him their umbrella. Even in his last days on earth, Perrone befriended another patient at the hospital and told her to come “hang out” with him since she was young and there were not too many young people around the hospital. He was always making friends and talked to anyone and offered assistance and help to anyone he saw who needed it. He never had an unkind word to say about anybody. He was so genuinely loving and sweet.

While Perrone was a partner in the family business and served as the company’s sales director, his passion was writing music, lyrics, playing his guitar, piano, mandolin, harmonica, saxophone and singing. His band Zama Para released a CD in January.

Perrone is preceded in death by his grandfathers John Perrone Sr., William Hall Jr. and Joseph Curcuru; and dear friend Van Rogers. He is survived by his parents John and Debbie Perrone; siblings and their spouses Dr. Andrea Perrone Toomer (Brian), Dayna Perrone Dyle (Chad), John Perrone III (Yvonne) and his twin brother Rusty Perrone (Cristy); godchildren Patrick Toomer, Daphne Dyle and Julien Perrone; other nieces and nephews Collin Dyle, Lucy and Laura Toomer, Amelia Perrone and Brendan Dyle; grandmothers Felicia Perrone and Grace Serio Hall; aunts and uncles Jane and Bill Hall, Diane and Harold Baur and Sandra and Ralph Junius; and numerous cousins and friends.

Perrone would have been married this November to Logan Powers Shaw, daughter of Laurice Shaw and John Shaw, and sister of Kara Shaw Hennessey (Olly).

Memorial services for Perrone were held March 4. Contributions in his memory can be made to M.D. Anderson Hospital, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, TN 38105; or Autism Society of Greater New Orleans, 938 Calhoun St., New Orleans, LA 70118.

Jeffers appointed to sales director’s post

Following Perrone’s death, Perrone & Sons appointed Mike Jeffers in late March to the sales director position. The following announcement was released by Russell and the Perrone family:

“As being great partners of our close-knit family business, all of you are no doubt aware of our family’s recent loss of Randy, our son, brother and twin, as well as one of the leading forces in our company. We as a family and as a company decided to search outside of our organization for a director who can bring to our company professionalism, service orientation and product knowledge that can help bring us to a new level of service.

“Our search landed on Mike Jeffers, who has been knowledgeable in the retail industry for over 40 years. He worked as operational and general manager for National Supermarkets, district manager for Schwegmanns, and most recently (as) area operations manager for a national retail chain. His ability to understand our market, its trends and the relationships required to succeed is what we are most excited about in having him join our team. He is skilled in all aspects of service, including managing team members, maintaining and building relations with vendors, inventory controls and, most importantly, marketing and promotions.

“We welcome Mike the way a family would welcome a relative into their own home. We are confident that his abilities will bring a value to our company, our vendors and our customers. Thank you for all the support that you have given our family during these trying times, and we ask that you show Mike that same support as his business relationship with you develops.”

Russell also said the company has promoted from within a senior merchandiser and a reset coordinator, “which will offer a new level of service to our current customer base.”

Perrone & Sons is an importer and distributor of Italian and other gourmet food products.

•••

The Shelby Report featured a story about Perrone & Sons in mid-2010. It appears below.

Perrone & Sons Business Grows As People Eat At Home More Often

When the economy sunk into a depression after Black Tuesday, Perrone & Sons Inc., then the Original Progress Grocery, endured.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, the levees broke and the waters rose, two generations of Perrone men not only literally weathered the storm by staying in their homes, but made sure what had become the family’s Metairie, La.- based food distribution facility was salvaged—and not just aesthetically.

Through the Great Depression and the costliest natural disaster in America’s history Perrone & Sons has remained, and it’s because for 86 years the family’s name has been synonymous with great food.

In 1924, Sicilian immigrant and great-grandfather to Russell Perrone and his four siblings—who now run Perrone & Sons—Bartholomew Perrone opened the Original Progress Grocery on Decatur Street in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans.

His retail store offered imported Italian products in an area of the Crescent City that according to Russell Perrone was known as “Little Italy.”

In the 1950s, the restaurant industry in New Orleans was starting to come into its own, and restaurants looked to the Original Progress Grocery for gourmet and specialty items.

It was in that realm that Bartholomew’s son John saw a niche.

“Restaurants would come in the store, pick up our specialty products and bring it back into their restaurant,” said Russell, who serves as executive sales manager at Perrone & Sons. “My grandfather (John) kind of created that and then my dad (John Perrone Jr.) came in 30 years ago and noticed a demand for our type of product all over the French Quarter and all over New Orleans and into Baton Rouge. So we took the retail business and completely transformed it into a wholesale food distributor.”

At first, it was only restaurants Perrone & Sons served: K-Paul’s, Emeril Lagasse’s three, Brennan’s, mom-and-pop establishments in the French Quarter and so on.

In 2002, however, growth came again in the form of retail.

“A big company, a local company, that did all gourmet products to grocery stores went out of business,” Russell said. “Their end was our beginning in the retail industry and we’ve been doing it for eight years now.”

Perrone & Sons serves, according to Russell, 80 percent of all independent grocery stores in the greater New Orleans area. Among those are Rouses in New Orleans, the Gulf Coast and Lafayette, Zuppardo’s, Langenstein’s, Breaux Mart, Robert’s Fresh Market and Market Fare, Calandro’s and Matherne’s in Baton Rouge and Lishman’s City Market in Slidell and La Place.

They import pastas, olive oil, salad dressing and sauces, make olive salad and, most recently, introduced a dirty martini mix that Russell said “goes hand in hand with the environment” in lower Louisiana. “You know, a dirty martini mix would do well down here,” he added.

“The last couple of years, we’ve seen some nice growth in the retail side of our business,” Russell said. “The economy helped that out actually because more people, at least in our business, are eating out less and going into grocery stores more.

“New Orleanians have a high palate, and we found that gourmet sections of the retail establishments were actually getting hit pretty well because people figured that if they’re not going to eat well at a restaurant, they might as well eat well at home and that’s where our business grew and is continuing to grow.

“Within the last year alone we pulled on some grocery stores and are their sole distributor of gourmet products,” Russell added. “We’ve added over 1,200 items and started selling those products locally. I think the big thing that this market wants is a local company that can deliver what some national companies can. They want to keep their money locally and we’re trying to fulfill that want.”

In the featured photo at top (taken in 2010) are, from left, Rusty Perrone, the late Randy Perrone, John Perrone Jr. and John Perrone III, representing the company’s third and fourth generations.

 

 

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