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Jon Flora, who began a four-decade career with The Kroger Co. as a clerk and rose through the leadership ranks to become president of the company's Arizona-based Fry’s Food Stores division, died suddenly on Sept. 13 at age 58.
“We are deeply saddened to lose Jon, our dear friend and extraordinary leader,” said Dave Dillon, Kroger's chairman and CEO. “Jon leaves a legacy of enthusiasm and passion for doing what’s right for our customers, our neighbors and our associates. He touched the lives of countless people in our company as well as throughout our industry and community. He was a true ‘servant leader’ who mentored many associates at every level of our business. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Jon is survived by his two grown children – Byron and Jessica.”
Throughout his career, Flora helped Kroger and Fry’s strengthen relationships with customers, neighbors and suppliers. “He was a compassionate leader who led the Fry’s Division through many changes,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger president and COO. “Jon’s deep industry knowledge and innovative skills engaged and inspired those around him. He was a great teacher and friend who also was eager to learn from others. Jon was a hands-on leader and his favorite place to be was in the stores with his 18,000 Fry’s associates. We will all miss him deeply - he was an unbelievable human being.”
Flora joined Kroger in 1971 as a clerk and bottle boy at Dillons in Garden City, Kan. During his career, he held a number of leadership positions with the company, including vice president of merchandising, VP of the Southwest Division, president of the Michigan and Great Lakes Divisions, and senior VP and officer presiding over seven of Kroger’s supermarket divisions. In 2007, Flora was named president of Fry’s.
In addition to his professional career, Flora was an active community volunteer and was recognized for his numerous contributions in helping to fight hunger throughout Arizona. The Phoenix Business Journal recognized Flora as one of “2013 Valley’s Most Admired Leaders” and the “2012 Executive Volunteer of the Year.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.