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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Joseph R. Heinen, who helped run the regional 15-store Heinen's Fine Foods supermarket chain begun by his father, died April 30 at his home here at the age of 70, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. He suffered from a chronic respiratory illness.
Heinen worked in the Cleveland, Ohio-based chain's produce, dairy and frozen foods departments prior to becoming director of human resources. He and his late brother, Jack, ran the company together after their father retired. Today Jack's sons, Tom and Jeff, head up the retailer's operations.
According to his nephews, Heinen was a smart merchandiser who was good at spotting trends. He was a pioneer in bringing retailers and food suppliers together to promote frozen food to shoppers, and he greatly expanded the frozen foods business of his family's supermarkets
Heinen began working for his father before graduating from high school in 1952, and joined the management in 1956, after he graduated from Rutgers University. Although he retired as v.p. 20 years ago, he stayed on the company's board of directors.
As well as his nephews, he is survived by his wife, Antoinette; four daughters; two stepchildren; a brother; and a sister.