Tributes have been paid to Tony Bianchi, the former boss of Macclesfield’s landmark furniture store.
Tony, 83, died with his family by his side at East Cheshire Hospice after suffering from a brain tumour.
He was a former director of the 160-year-old Arighi Bianchi furniture store, one of Macclesfield’s most famous institutions.
Tony, who lived in Prestbury, was managing director of the Silk Road store along with his brother Paul for many years.
His son Richard, who also works for the firm, paid tribute to him. He said: “Dad was very social, a big personality. He was generous and a good father. He was hardworking and a fantastic salesman. He did lots of cycling and walking round Macclesfield, loved horse racing, and was keen on bird watching and fishing.”
Richard, 56, who has two children and lives in Prestbury with wife Penny, added: “He loved his beer and had ales named after him at Wincle and Storm breweries.
“He never went to university but said having ales named after him was like getting a degree.
“He was proud of that.
“He loved Macclesfield and its community.”
Tony was dad to Richard, John and William and had eight grandchildren.
His son John said: “Dad always looked on the bright side of life and had time for people.
“He was a people person, it was his strong attribute.”
Tony’s grandad Antonio Bianchi was one of two Italian immigrants – the other Antonio Arighi – who started the shop in 1854.
Antonio’s eldest son was John, Tony’s dad, who was married to Irene.
Tony was born and bred on Ivy Lane, Macclesfield before going away to college and joining the Navy.
He returned to Macclesfield to work in the furniture shop in his early 20s. He married Pauline in 1960 and they divorced 25 years ago but remained friends.
Tony worked at Arighi Bianchi for more than 50 years before taking semi-retirement, but helped out until recently.
He developed a brain tumour eight months ago and was in East Cheshire Hospice when he died on July 7.
Sir Nicholas Winterton, former Macclesfield MP for 39 years, said: “I was saddened to hear about Tony’s death. He was a always excellent company. A leading citizen of Macclesfield has died and he will be missed.”
Tony’s funeral mass was scheduled to takes place at St Alban’s Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday followed by a private interment.