Joseph Frank Farrugia, 90, formerly of Elbridge passed away Oct. 8, 2020 at the Commons on St. Anthony, Auburn. He was predeceased by his parents Laurent Farrugia and Stella (D’Alfo) Farrugia Abruzzese, along with two sisters Matilda DeLucas and Grace Walters. Joseph’s mother, Stella, emigrated from Malta, Italy to the United States and raised three children as a single parent after his father passed away when Joe was five. Although he was the youngest of the children, Joe made a promise to take care of the family after his father died.
Joe served in the National Guard, but is best known in Central New York for his time spent in the grocery business. He began a twenty-year career with P&C Supermarkets as a stock clerk, and went on to become a multi-store Field Supervisor, specializing in meat departments. In 1968 Joe opened his own store under the name of Elbridge Big M. In 1978, Joe opened his second grocery store, the Jordan Big M. In 1983 Joe opened another, yet larger store in Elbridge. He served on the board of New York State Food Merchants and was President of the Big M Midstate group consisting of more than 70 stores.
His customers often remarked on his high standards and dedication. His strong work ethic was one to be reckoned with. Upon entering one of his stores, Joe was easy to identify. His staple wardrobe of a white shirt and tie, along with a wide smile and sunny disposition left a warm impact on all who knew him.
In addition to being a successful businessman, Joe gave back to his community in many ways. He served as President of the Lions Club, and was a member of the Elks Club. He volunteered his time with the Elbridge Gerry Days, and served as a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Joe was a charter business member of the Jordan-Elbridge Dollars for Scholars Scholarship Fund. His yearly donations helped many graduating Jordan-Elbridge seniors.
Joe leaves behind his loving wife of 68 years, Jane (Gridley) and three sons, David (Gail Schaff), Michael (Katherine Gray) and Joseph (Patricia Switzer), along with nine grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter, Denise, in 1975.
In his free time, Joe enjoyed music by playing the piano, singing, musical theater and ballroom dancing. He and Jane were members of two ballroom dance clubs. Some of the fondest memories he shared was of the cottage in Canada, spending winters in Florida, vacationing in the Adirondacks, fishing and time spent with his friends and family.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, services will be private. Joseph will be laid to rest at Maple Grove Cemetery, Jordan. The family requests that any donations be made in his name to, - Maple Grove Cemetery Operations Fund, P.O. Box 363, Jordan, NY 13080.
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