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ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Louis H. Fanaroff, co-owner and chairman of the Magruder's grocery store chain based here, has died of respiratory disease at the age of 84.
Fanaroff, who died Feb. 4, was born and raised above his family’s grocery store in the Anacostia section of Washington, D.C. Following army service in World War II, he successively ran two Washington grocery stores before buying two Magruder's stores there with his brother-in-law Stanford Steppa in 1967. The stores had been in operation since 1875. While Fanaroff wrote the checks and kept the books, "I handled the green beans," Steppa told the Washington Post. Under Fanaroff's business leadership, Magruder's eventually expanded to 10 stores, holding its own against much larger, national chains.
Fanaroff was strongly involved in his community, supporting many local and national organizations, among them the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Recently Fanaroff ceded his part in the business to his son, Steven, and son-in-law, but remained interested in it.
Fanaroff's survivors include four children, a sister, 12 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. His wife, Helyn, died in 1991.