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UPDATE: Franco’s to host a tribute Wednesday to honor its late founder

Funeral services and a tribute gathering have been set for Franco’s Ristorante Italiano founder Franco Germano.

Germano — who opened his restaurant at 824 E. Fifth St. in Dayton in October 1976 at age 31 — died Sunday morning. He was 73.

EARLIER COVERAGE: Franco’s Ristorante Italiano founder passes away at 73

The tribute gathering will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 28 at the restaurant, Franco Germano’s son, Nick, said today, March 26.

Funeral services and a tribute gathering have been set for Franco Germano, founder of Franco’s Ristorante Italiano. FILE (Staff Writer)

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“This is not his memorial — it is merely a time and place for those that loved him to gather and celebrate his impact on our lives,” Steve Tieber, owner of the nearby Dublin Pub, wrote on his Facebook page after working out the details of the event with Nick Germano.

Daytonian of the Week: Franco Germano of Franco’s Ristorante Italiano (November 2016)

David Hulme, owner of The Pine Club, said in an email that he and other Dayton-area restaurant owners “are so very fortunate and proud to have shared the Dayton restaurant scene with Franco. A wonderful man and a true restaurateur.”

Jay’s Restaurant owner Amy Haverstick wrote on Nick Germano’s Facebook announcement of his father’s passing that Franco “was an inspiration to many throughout the community.”

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The owner of the popular Italian restaurant grew up in Duronia, Italy, where he developed an expansive knowledge and passion for food. He moved to the United States at 18, and joined the Army. He started in the food industry in 1963 as a dishwasher. After serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, he took a job as chef and general manager of Sacksteder’s Cafeteria.

» PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Franco’s ‘World Famoso’ Spaghetti wowing diners for nearly 40 years

Germano was an avid golfer, who played two or three times per week at the Community Golf Course. He also loved soccer, both playing the sport and coaching youth, high school and college soccer.

Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 2 at Westbrock Funeral Home, 5980 Bigger Road in Kettering. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. April 3. at St. Anthony Catholic Church, 820 Bowen Street in Dayton. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery.

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