Gilbert A. Macali 1919-2013

NILES – Gilbert Anthony Macali, 93, of Niles, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

Gilbert, born on Oct. 28, 1919, in Niles, was the son of Ralph and Angeline Scarnecchia Macali. He married Dolores Lapolla on July 4, 1953.

A lifelong resident of Niles, he graduated in 1938 from McKinley High School and was a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish.

He served for more than four years during World War II in smallcraft of the 12th Army Air Force Emergency Air-Sea Rescue Boat Squadron. After duty along the eastern coast of the United States, he ended his military career a technical sergeant assigned to a PT boat in the Panama Canal Zone.

Gilbert, as a young man, was employed at Frech’s Grocery. In 1948, he and his brother, Palmer, opened their first grocery store, Macali’s Deluxe Market in Niles. He owned and operated supermarkets for 65 years, most recently at Macali’s Giant Eagle. He continued to go to his store every day and worked up until age 90. He was proud of the fact that many young people drew their first paycheck from a part-time job at his store.

He served for 25 years as a member and president of the Niles Civil Service Commission. He was a member and past president of the Niles Rotary, where he was recognized as a prestigious Paul Harris Fellow. He supported the international exchange program and his family hosted a student from Brazil, Virgilio Medina, who has kept in close contact with the family over the years.

Gil was honored by the Chamber of Commerce as Merchant of the Year and as a Partner in Education, and received the Giant Eagle Corporate Award for community involvement. He was a member of the Ohio Grocer’s Association. He was inducted into the McKinley High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002.

He had a continuing commitment to the community as a supporter of its civic, cultural and educational projects.

He was a member of the Niles Historical Society, Friends of the Library, Trustee Circle of the Butler Institute of American Art and Stambaugh Pillars. He received a Governor’s award and was honored by the State General Assembly as an Ohio Outstanding School Volunteer Partner.

He was an avid sports fan, particularly of the Cleveland Browns, and always hoped to see them play in one of the many Super Bowl games he attended.

Gil’s holidays and celebrations were always a special event for him.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Virginia Macali of Columbus; and two sons, Gilbert Macali Jr. and Robert Macali, both of Niles; and five grandchildren, Nicoll (Greg) Tauro, Jessica, Gilbert III, Vincent and Anthony; one brother, Palmer “Barney” (Anne) Macali of Niles; two sisters, Eleanor Hackett and Norma (Jack) Entler, both of Niles; and several nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Armand Macali.

Gil contributed to and supported a wide range of local charities over the years. The family requests that material tributes be made to any local charity or organization of the giver’s choice.

Friends may call from 1 to 3 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Joseph Rossi and Sons Funeral Home in Niles, where the Mount Carmel Bereavement Ministry will conduct prayers at 7:30 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Niles with the Rev. John-Michael Lavelle officiating, preceded by a 9:30 a.m. prayer service at the funeral home.

Burial will be in Niles City Cemetery, where Gilbert will be honored for his military service by the Girard Veterans Council Honor Guard.

Family and friends can view this obituary, sign the guestbook and send email condolences at

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