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Founder of Montalbano Majestic, Thomas Montalbano Sr., Dead at 96

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Consummate furniture craftsman and manufacturer Thomas Montalbano Sr. passed away just three weeks shy of his 97th birthday, Christmas day, and seven months short of his 75th wedding anniversary. Mark A. Montalbano, CFO & Vice President of Montalbano Majestic International, the company founded by his grandfather in 1929 said, "He was a great man who will be dearly missed, not just by family but all who have encountered him. He had a smile that could light up the world." Mr. Montalbano had a passion for making furniture and worked a full 40 hour week until his 94th year, not just doing desk work, but actually carving the ornate, high end, French Provincial and Italian Baroque styled furniture that were carved by machine and then meticulously gilded and hand finished. The Chicago Sun Times repored that Mr. Montalbano started his business "in the family's garage and remained there for the next five years before he moved to a little factory on Chicago Avenue, then a larger facility on Peoria Street. Later, he opened a factory in Humboldt Park before World War II and remained there for almost 50 years before moving in the 1980s to Bellwood. At one point in the 1970s and 1980s, the company's pieces were handled by 600 stores nationwide." Many who knew him were aware of his other great passion. He built a chapel in the Montalbano Majestic factory where weekly mass was held for for employees. As a devout Catholic and a devoted furniture man, he combined his craft with a charitable nature to make desks for schools and pews for churches. He also performed countless other small deeds, Thomas' son Richard Montalbano noted. Mr. Montalbano is survived by his wife of 74 years M. Patricia, his son Richard, a daughter, Patricia Hugar; 13 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

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