Mourning Tony Genzale of Tony’s Market

December 4, 2010 at 8:38 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 71 Comments

(WSB photo of Tony, from January 2010, as he prepared to reopen the market post-holidays)
We have just received word that Tony Genzale, longtime operator of Tony’s Market in Westwood, has died. He had fought a long battle against cancer. From his niece Renee Vacca:

As a former West Seattle resident myself, I know how many people loved to shop from him and have known of his battle with cancer this past couple of years.  We are so sorry to inform them that he passed last night at his home of many years in Burien.  I’m sure they would want to know that he passed peacefully with his wife in his arms and both of his children at his side.  He was doing so well until the last couple of months and then his cancer took a dramatic turn and his condition worsened rapidly.  Needless to say, we are still a bit in shock but please know that he was ready to go and his family had come to terms with this before he passed.
 
Arrangements are currently being made and the family will post service announcements on the website we set up for him with caringbridge.org.  At their website, enter “anthonygenzale” in the “visiting” section of the homepage and read the updates.  For anyone that would like to help, please post a comment for the family and share your feelings for uncle Tony as I know how loved he was.  Don’t forget that his son Joey is running the tree lot and would love to hear your kind words about his dad.  He has been there every day and even worked there all day today. 
 
I know that he got up every day and put his work boots on to go see the customers that he loved so much!  You all gave him a purpose and he told me many times, “Renee’, West Seattle is the best!! and he meant it with all his heart.  I always said, “told ya so!”  Please tell all your friends that this would be a great place to buy a tree in uncle Tony’s honor and display it proudly!  He loved those selling Christmas trees every year!

Tony Genzale was 61. Here’s a direct link to the webpage that Reneé mentioned.

71 Comments

  1. This is sad news. He will be missed greatly. I grew up in northern Utah with produce stands and farms all around me. I was thrilled to find Tony’s when I moved to the White Center area. His knowledge and friendliness reminded me so much of home and made me a bit less homesick. I will miss seeing him. My prayers go out to his friends and family.

    Comment by Buannan — 8:49 pm December 4, 2010 #

  2. I am so sorry to hear this! He will be very missed! We only knew him as occasional customers and didn’t know of his health struggles, but he was always so friendly, full of enthusiasm and so very personable. We love shopping there! I will be thinking of his family lots in the coming days.

    Comment by Kristin — 8:58 pm December 4, 2010 #

  3. That is so sad — As an occasional customer, I knew him — but not well enough to know of his health struggles. He was always helpful and friendly and funny — he answered my naive questions without making me feel dumb. We’ll be by to see Joey and buy our Hanamus Bush later this week. Condolences to Tony’s family and friends!

    Comment by charlabob — 9:47 pm December 4, 2010 #

  4. How sad. Condolences to Tony’s family and friends.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 9:59 pm December 4, 2010 #

  5. My family extends it’s condolences to Tony’s. What a great guy, and what a remarkable asset to the West Seattle community. Tony’s produce has been a cornerstone of our dinner table for years. His recommendations were always spot on. I’m pretty sure the only reason I can get my daughter to eat broccoli is because of him; doing the Lord’s work on that one. Thanks.

    Comment by Randal — 10:00 pm December 4, 2010 #

  6. What a shock! My kids love going to the Fruit stand to buy fruit and say hello to Tony. He will be missed!

    Comment by Christie — 10:00 pm December 4, 2010 #

  7. We all are feeling for Tony’s family and loved ones. He is at peace now. Cancer is awful; Tony was the opposite.May his beautiful children know how beloved Tony (and his family) is and was and always will be in West Seattle and beyond.

    Comment by (required) — 10:03 pm December 4, 2010 #

  8. Joey and Jenna, hugs to you! Be strong! Your dad was good!

    Comment by (required) — 10:06 pm December 4, 2010 #

  9. So sorry to hear this. We’ve been going to Tony’s for years and will miss seeing his friendly face. Our thoughts are with his family.

    Comment by Jen — 10:13 pm December 4, 2010 #

  10. I’m so saddened by this news. We frequent his market almost every day in the summer — he will definitely be missed!

    Comment by desertdweller — 10:15 pm December 4, 2010 #

  11. A great man who impacted the lives of so many with his kindness, humor, and passion for life. Tony will be missed, but never forgotten.

    Comment by Dave — 10:40 pm December 4, 2010 #

  12. This makes me so sad. Tony was such an amazing guy and had the best fruit stand! He always pointed out the best squash for me and the best fruit during the summer.

    He will be missed for sure.

    Comment by Jess — 10:54 pm December 4, 2010 #

  13. Such tragic news!! I love shopping at Tony’s and hope to in the future as well. I love the atmosphere and the music! If I had a concern about something, he would be ready with a full explanation of what, why and how. I trusted him to bring me the best produce possible and he delivered. I can’t believe that he is gone. Rest in peace, my friend!

    Comment by Charlie — 10:58 pm December 4, 2010 #

  14. Oh my! I’ve gone there since it opened! And to his other produce stand out in Burien before that! Saw him on the last day it was open before closing to get ready for Christmas Trees! I never knew he was ill! He certainly was a gentle caring person. You will be missed. God Bless!

    Comment by CitizenR — 11:05 pm December 4, 2010 #

  15. This is sad news. His market is one of the reasons I love West Seattle. Listening to the rat pack and having Tony come up and offer his suggestions or deals. I will miss him.

    Comment by chet — 12:05 am December 5, 2010 #

  16. We shop at Tony’s as much as we can. Cheers Tony, RIP.

    Comment by toddinwestwood — 12:10 am December 5, 2010 #

  17. We were just there today buying our tree and didn’t know the news. Our kids wouldn’t miss a Halloween or Christmas without going to Tony’s. He will be sorely missed.

    Comment by Kimberly McDonald — 12:58 am December 5, 2010 #

  18. Two of my friends worked for Tony the past few years.He was such a wonderful employer and really took good care of them.Im sure they are really having a hard time with this.I was a frequent shopper for years and am in shock of the news.My prayers to the family.What a lucky and blessed family to have Tony in it.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 2:27 am December 5, 2010 #

  19. I knew Tony since the late 1960s, when he was at the Pike Place Market. This is such sad news!

    Comment by ivan — 5:36 am December 5, 2010 #

  20. We are shocked and so sorry to hear about Tony. He was always so wonderfully helpful and cheerful that we didn’t realize he was ill. He will be sorely missed in West Seattle. Our warmest thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

    Comment by CanDo — 6:14 am December 5, 2010 #

  21. Rest in Peace Tony.

    Comment by k — 8:28 am December 5, 2010 #

  22. A visit to Tony’s, especially when he was there, always made me happier, no matter the day. Such a wonderfully nice and honest guy, who knew his business inside and out. He’ll be missed.

    Comment by Yardark — 8:28 am December 5, 2010 #

  23. So sorry to hear this, and will be thinking of his family. He was always in wonderful spirits when we shopped–so helpful and ready to share a honey stick to give the kids a smile. The type of guy who could be counted on to make your day a little bit better than it was. There’s a great legacy for you!

    Comment by kristen — 8:30 am December 5, 2010 #

  24. Oh no. It’s hard to accept the fact that the next time I walk into that market, Tony won’t be there. I always enjoyed his smiling, positive energy. He will be missed!

    Comment by Luckie — 9:02 am December 5, 2010 #

  25. Very sad news, indeed. Tony’s is part of what makes West Seattle so special to my wife and I, and I’m sure to many others. I hope the family will keep the business going. We all appreciated your Dad, and the excellent produce we could always find at Tony’s.

    Comment by PeterT — 9:09 am December 5, 2010 #

  26. I once shared the strip mall on 128th with Tony when he had his grocery store there (I managed the Bartell Drugs) and came to know him as a much loved and admired community figure. Later, my wife and I made weekly trips to his stand on 35th and always loved the atmosphere and Tony’s uncanny ability to know exactly what to recommend. We knew of his health struggles, but the last time we saw him he looked like he was bouncing back, so his untimely death comes as a great shock. Our hearts go out to his family and friends, he was an amazing guy.

    Comment by StanT — 9:36 am December 5, 2010 #

  27. As a (small) example of how Tony made such an impact on our community in little ways, he was willing to quietly give the cuttings from his trees to the Pathfinder K8 wreath-making effort even though he sold wreaths himself. So he gave help to a “competitor” and asked nothing – not even public recognition in return. I know this is a small thing, but I suspect there are so many of these tiny things that only a few people know about that all add up to a great loss for us all.

    Comment by Eric B — 9:44 am December 5, 2010 #

  28. i am glad his bad days are at an end…
    but i will miss him.

    Comment by JoB — 9:53 am December 5, 2010 #

  29. A good guy. A sad loss.

    Comment by Gina — 10:36 am December 5, 2010 #

  30. Tony’s was such a bright spot in my day! He had such a great attitude and spirit. So sorry to hear this. We’ll miss you Tony!

    Comment by Daffodil — 10:39 am December 5, 2010 #

  31. I feel a little less today.

    Comment by Under_Achiever — 11:12 am December 5, 2010 #

  32. A really good guy. I stopped by all through the spring, summar and the fall for some nice produce and some Dean Martin on his radio. He face will be missed!!!

    Comment by wally — 11:22 am December 5, 2010 #

  33. It would be nice if we could have a street nearby his site renamed in honor of him.Perhaps “Tonys Place”?

    Comment by Alki Resident — 12:18 pm December 5, 2010 #

  34. I’m so sorry to hear this. While I didn’t know him personally, I often shopped at the stand and he was always so friendly and upbeat that I really enjoyed seeing him. He will certainly be greatly missed.

    Comment by Elikapeka — 12:25 pm December 5, 2010 #

  35. My heart goes out to his family. This morning I drove by the Christmas Tree lot and marveled at the perfectly shaped trees. This news today is very sad. I used to shop at Tony’s at his old location in Burien and then frequent trips to the West Seattle location. Tony always had a bit of wisdom, a friendly smile, and we enjoyed talking about Italian treats such as fried okra (he was always so happy for me when it was in season.).

    Comment by Iggy — 1:53 pm December 5, 2010 #

  36. This man was so kind and smiling every time I saw him. He always had a joke for my little boy and always made sure to point me to “the good stuff.” Thank you for putting a smile on my face every time we came by. Rest in peace Tony, this news brings tears to my eyes and you will truly be missed by this West Seattlite.

    Comment by Rachel — 2:24 pm December 5, 2010 #

  37. I always looked forward to going to Tony’s to shop for fresh fruit and veggies. I’ll of course still go there but will miss Tony’s smile. He will be missed.

    Comment by Kate K — 3:59 pm December 5, 2010 #

  38. Such sad news. I will miss seeing him when I shop at his fruit stand. He was such a sweet man. I will keep him and his family in my thoughts.

    Comment by Jeunglady — 6:11 pm December 5, 2010 #

  39. I’m so sorry to hear of this news. I am just one of many customers who enjoyed stopping by to pick up fresh produce and visit with Tony and the rest of the crew at his wonderful stand. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

    Comment by SLS — 6:16 pm December 5, 2010 #

  40. Tony was wonderful. Always had a smile and a great way with customers – young and old. I am so sad about this news. We will have his entire family in our thoughts and prayers

    Comment by ToddyD — 7:33 pm December 5, 2010 #

  41. sad news, i always enjoyed seeing him-his politeness plus sinatra in the background made for the complete experience. his family is in my thoughts-

    Comment by lina rose — 9:21 pm December 5, 2010 #

  42. May the memories of the life you shared help ease your sorrow.
    May the comfort of family and friends heal your heart.
    May the promises of jesus reassure you and give you peace.

    Comment by martha — 10:05 pm December 5, 2010 #

  43. No, no, no, lina rose — it was Dean Martin. And Tony often corrected folks who said what you did. (I am sure I made the same mistake once, too!!) Dean Martin and Tony are hopefully having a laugh somewhere now.

    Comment by (required) — 10:58 pm December 5, 2010 #

  44. So sad. It’s always been such a treat to shop there and I’m sure it will continue to be if the family can keep it going (which Joey seems to have been doing this season, see him there all the time & he’d always been so worried about his dad working too much). A funny story I’d like to share (maybe others have one too?): I was in there one day & the “kids” were running the stand and playing mellow music (but NOT Rat Pack) when the phone rings… it was Tony telling them to change the music back! They look at each other shaking their heads and laughing “how does he DO that?”. I thought it was hilarious! And of course, they changed the music!

    Comment by Shannon — 11:33 pm December 5, 2010 #

  45. This is so sad to hear. My family and I will miss Tony. My 8-year-old daughter *loved* seeing his smiling face (and also loved getting a free honey stick from him…she knew a softie when she saw one). When I purchased my tree this year on November 30th, I learned that–despite his illness–Tony managed to still venture out to hand-pick the Christmas trees for the Market this year. That’s just how dedicated he was! Three cheers for Tony!

    Comment by Heather — 11:35 pm December 5, 2010 #

  46. To Tony’s family:
    I’m so sorry to hear that Tony passed. I only knew him as a customer of produce and Xmas trees, but he was a sweet and friendly man. He was a great guy! I loved shopping at his corner stand because he always had lovely produce, it was a pleasure to see him and I was proud of what he had created. I hope he felt deep satisfaction about what he had created because it was a major benefit to West Seattle…

    I still have a pumpkin from his stand that I haven’t carved into. I will slice his name into it, plop in a candle, thinking of you all. And I’ll see you at the Xmas tree lot.

    I know you are missing him.

    Your Tony was well loved
    Drury

    Comment by DM — 12:27 am December 6, 2010 #

  47. I cannot add much else. Just so sad to lose this community figure. We love shopping at Tony’s and never had a trip over there where Tony didn’t interact kindly with my children. He will be missed. Thank you Tony, for all you did. May you rest in peace. Best wishes for gentle days ahead for Tony’s family and friends.

    Comment by knm — 7:50 am December 6, 2010 #

  48. My condolenses to Tony’s family and friends for this big loss.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 7:52 am December 6, 2010 #

  49. Please accept my condolences. We just bought our tree there yesterday and had no idea. He was such a nice, pleasant man – one of the reasons I love shopping there.

    Comment by Lucky chick — 9:02 am December 6, 2010 #

  50. Condolenses to Tony’s family. He will be missed greatly. I loved coming to his corner lot and hearing Dean Martin when I walked in. May the family know how much joy this man brought into everyone’s life.

    Comment by Lola — 9:20 am December 6, 2010 #

  51. This is sad news. My condolenses go out to his family. Tony was good people.

    Comment by al — 11:14 am December 6, 2010 #

  52. Tony was a treasure to this community. I loved going to his produce stand and getting all of his wonderful recommendations for the best and freshest vegetables and fruits. His great personality and incredible service will always be fondly remembered.

    Warmest regards to the family.

    Comment by Toni — 12:09 pm December 6, 2010 #

  53. Tony found a niche in West Seattle and made his place a community magnet. He was a hard worker and a great guy. I had to smile everytime I heard that Dean Martin music. Best wishes to Joey and the rest of the family. Tony will be missed, for sure.

    Comment by Glenn D — 1:58 pm December 6, 2010 #

  54. I always think of Tony whenever I listen to Dean Martin, and always think of Dean Martin when I drive by Tony’s! I hope he and Dino are having a grand time up there in Heaven…

    Comment by Jenny B — 1:59 pm December 6, 2010 #

  55. Sad news. Tony’s was a regular stop as soon as I moved to Gatewood. Great fruit and veggies…good music and happy people working there. A nice combo. Sympathies, condolences and regards to his family and staff. Remember what he did, how he did it and keep on doing it. The community needs you!

    Comment by N.Y. Vinnie — 3:48 pm December 6, 2010 #

  56. I am heartbroken. :’(
    He was such a sweetheart of a guy. Dang it all. All our best in the worst of times, to his family. We are thinking of you…

    Comment by Beth — 3:48 pm December 6, 2010 #

  57. Sad news. My lady and I enjoyed shopping at Tony’s and looked forward to the stand’s opening every spring. Aside from the quality produce, Tony, his family, and crew – to say nothing of the stand’s Dean Martin soundtrack – kept us coming back for years. Tony will be missed.

    Comment by M. Colello — 6:15 pm December 6, 2010 #

  58. My heart is broken! My family and I wish there was some way we could help or be there for you all in this time of need! Tony was a joy and so much fun to be around he will be missed forever!

    Joey, you can do it buddy! I know the community will support you!

    love you all

    Schanon

    Comment by Schanon Odell-Ataee — 6:16 pm December 6, 2010 #

  59. Tony, you were amazing, friendly, personable and made me happy to stop at your market every chance I got. I could always count on a smile and feeling just a little bit better coming out than when I went in. We will miss you. My thoughts are with Tony’s family and friends.

    Comment by AlkiResident — 7:50 pm December 6, 2010 #

  60. My heart is saddened to learn of the loss of Tony. We will miss so dearly his smiles, great attitude, and a desire for excellance in serving beautiful produce for this community. Our prayers go out to you Joey & family. May God pour out his healing and strenght to you this season. We Love you!

    Comment by Rhonda Tauakitau — 2:47 am December 7, 2010 #

  61. My dad was in from out of town. It was almost the first day of Rainer Cherry season. Tony did not have any in yet, but he might by the end of the day…my dad was leaving to go back in the EAM…so it was today, or not at all. Tony took my dad’s cell number and told him that if his “guy” (how many “Guys” did this man have!) came thru, he would call him.

    Well, at 5:30 PM, we got a call from Tony, the cherries were in..We bought a whole flat of the first RCherries of the year! THAT is customer service!

    Another:

    Got to chatting with him about his recent stock of Peaches and he said:

    “Well, this one guy I was buying from was not gettin’ the job done, so I went “Over There” (the other side of the mountains…) and picked these out myself.”

    And they were, in fact, much better.

    Tony, we will miss you.

    hk

    Comment by HolyKow — 10:44 am December 7, 2010 #

  62. I will miss stopping by to see Tony with the kids. They loved to see him and get a honey sticks. Tony was loved by the community and we will think of him often. Tony our family will miss you.

    Comment by GoosenDuck — 1:28 pm December 7, 2010 #

  63. Between his happy smile, the wonderful music of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and the abundance of Fennel he always had for my family. (I think I was the only one that bought it!)We will truly miss his love and touch. We would walk around and think, Whats for dinner? He would always have a solution. Ah make this, ah cook this. I have some great fresh Asparagus! Look at this corn he said!. Check out this eggplant! WOW!.
    We will miss him greatly.
    To the family, our prayers our with you in the tragic loss.
    The Montanarelli Family

    Comment by The Montanarelli Family — 3:01 pm December 7, 2010 #

  64. We were so sorry to hear of Tony’s passing. We live in Burien and often times drove to Tony’s to get produce because he always had the best and was so passionate about the stand. He always made us feel so welcome! Tony touched a lot of people and will be truly missed! Our hearts go out to his loved ones. Peace.

    Comment by Furin Family — 3:41 pm December 7, 2010 #

  65. I am so sad to hear that Tony has left us, I stopped by last week to say hello to Tony and Joey to learn he was not doing well. He will be missed, he was such a wonderful friendly guy! My heart goes out to his wife and family! your family will be in our prayers and hearts, Tony will be missed but not forgotten.

    Comment by Rosalind Monteros — 12:00 am December 8, 2010 #

  66. Oh no. we were going to buy our Christmas tree from Tony on Saturday….this is so sad.
    He was so kind to everyone. A real Gentleman who will be missed. Our condolences to his friends and family.
    The Shumans

    Comment by BB — 4:18 pm December 8, 2010 #

  67. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Family at this very difficult time. Tony will be missed by all. All the best to you at the Stand Joey, you can do this, your Dad taught you well! Hugs to all of you.

    Comment by Kay — 5:42 pm December 8, 2010 #

  68. So sad. I’ll miss his kindness and friendly face every time me and my daughter came there.

    Comment by Ray — 8:54 pm December 9, 2010 #

  69. What a blessing to have a place like Tony’s to show my children what wonderful people live in thier home town. We will miss you Tony and we’ll keep comin’ by…

    Comment by SSM — 6:43 pm December 12, 2010 #

  70. Tony made me feel like I could take any vegetable and make something splendid to eat. He cared about his business and customers like I rarely encounter anymore. My daughter and I would routinely buy 1/2 flats of blueberries and eat most of them on the ride home. I cannot believe he’s gone. Sending prayers of comfort to his family.

    Comment by Porter/Mann Family — 8:03 am December 15, 2010 #

  71. I just heard the news of Tony’s passing today and am so sad as I only just learned of his illness when he was not at the market as usual.
    My family and I purchase our tree from Tony and his son every year and it is an outing we always look forward to. Tony and Joey were always so helpful helping us select the perfect tree, holding it out so we could inspect it from all sides and never getting impatient while we wandered from tree to tree in an attempt to find the perfect, super tall tree with lots of space between the branches and not too big around. Tony always let the kids take a couple of candy canes and he always gave me a deal on our tree. We will miss him greatly with his cheerful smile, chainsaw in hand, especially at the holidays but we will continue to remember him each time we return to his market to purchase the perfect tree and in the spring and summer where we find the most beautiful, fresh produce in West Seattle. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all during this difficult time, Tony will always have a place in our hearts.

    Comment by LunaPark — 6:54 pm December 16, 2010 #

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