Tesoriero, founder of Frantone's Pizza, dies at 89

DOWNEY - Sleme Tesoriero, founder of Frantone's Pizza and Spaghetti Villa in Downey, died of natural causes on Feb. 19 at the age of 89.Tesoriero, also known as Tony, was a longtime Downey resident. He was born Aug. 30, 1920 in Panarea, Italy. He immigrated to the United States in 1926 and his family settled in Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1942, Tesoriero married Rose Cappadona, his Brooklyn neighbor and sweetheart. At his death, they had shared 66 years together. During World War II, Tesoriero served in the U.S. Army. He spent much of his military time in Italy as an MP and translator. After the war, Tesoriero and his wife lived in New York where he worked for his father-in-law, who operated tug boats on the Hudson River. In 1948, the family moved to Boston, where Tesoriero owned a popular Boston tavern called Friend's Tavern. In 1962, the city of Boston decided to erect a civic center at the site of the tavern, so Tesoriero moved his family to Downey, where his parents and several siblings resided. Tesoriero opened Frantone's in 1964. He retired from the business, and his sons and son-in-law have continued the Frantone's tradition, having opened two more restaurants in Norwalk and Cerritos. Tesoriero was active in the Downey community. He was a longtime member of the Optimist Club and UNICO, where he served as president. He was also a parishioner of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. In 2002, Tesoriero and his wife moved to Orange County, where many of his family now reside. He is survived by his wife, Rose; children and their spouses, Anthony and Mary Tesoriero, Rosalie and Frank Doubleday, and John and Kim Tesoriero; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter, Carolyn. Services were held Feb. 25 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Downey, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.

********** Published: February 26, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 45