Joseph Frank Cardani, 84, of Centerville, died Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 at his home.
Joe was born Oct. 28, 1928 in “Shanty Town,” Numa. He was the first born son to Joseph and Bertha Cardani. Joe attended school in both Numa and Centerville, graduating from Centerville High School in 1947. During his high school years Joe worked various jobs, such as the Conoco Station (located across from the fire station). He also did odd jobs, as well as mowing jobs, for Hank Johnson. It was also during Joe’s high school years that he and Shirley began dating. Shirley recalls their first date up town on the Centerville Square, celebrating “VJ Night,” which was in celebration of the surrender of the Japanese.
After graduation, Joe moved to Chicago for a short time to train in sales for Iowa packing. He was then offered a job in Kansas City, Mo. selling meat products to stores and restaurants in the area. Joe and Shirley continued their relationship during this time. They were married Jan. 3, 1948 at the St. Mary’s Rectory in Centerville. Following a family reception at Shirley’s parents’ home, Joe and his new bride hopped a train back to Kansas City, Mo. to begin their life with $14 to their name.
Joe and Shirley lived in Kansas City until March of 1948 when Joe took a job with Meadow Gold Dairy in Des Moines delivering products to stores and restaurants in the area. Due to Joe’s selling ability, he was able to gain prominent business accounts in Des Moines, such as Babe Bisignano (Babe’s Restaurant) and Noah Lacona, (Noah’s Ark) as well as several others in the area. Joe would go on to form lifetime friendships with Babe and Noah. During this time Joe and Shirley also began their family.
After eight years of delivering products, Joe accepted a transfer to Davenport in order to fill a management position with Meadow Gold Dairy. After four years Joe and the family transferred to Council Bluffs. After the Meadow Gold plant closed, Joe was again transferred to Hobbs, N.M. It was in New Mexico that Joe discovered the idea of a 7-11 convenience store chain. The family did not like being so far from home and family. Therefore, Joe and Shirley made the decision that they would move their family back to Centerville, with the help of Bennie Belloma. It was during this time period that Joe and Shirley established their own convenience store.
Joe was unable to obtain the financing needed to start his business without a co-signer on the loan from a local bank. Joe then turned to his friend Hank Johnson who co-signed the $2,000 loan. After remodeling what had been Main Street Market with the help of Walter Ousley and his brother-in-law Joe Long, the Quick Shop Superette opened for business on March 17, 1963. Along with the Centerville store, Joe would go on to own and operate two stores in Ottumwa, one in Fairfield and one in Mt. Pleasant. Joe’s business savvy, his strong belief in customer service and his loyalty to daily business operations has been the foundation to his success with the Quick Shop you see today. Joe enjoyed the challenge of being at the store every day to see what he could do to improve his business.
During Joe and Shirley’s 64 year marriage, they welcomed into their life five children; Kathy, Debbie, Julie, Linda and Michael. Joe was a devoted father who loved his children and he worked hard to provide for his family. He enjoyed being at the store everyday to continue to manage his business. Joe lived to work and as all of you know, he wanted to be sure things were being done his way. He enjoyed his customers and greeted them all by name. In fact, it would be more appropriate to call his customers his extended family. Joe especially liked to pull a good prank on someone or tell a good joke.
He enjoyed taking Shirley dancing at Charlie’s, Pale Moon and the Green Circle. Joe enjoyed taking his family on weekend trips to Des Moines and each summer, to Branson, Mo. He also enjoyed camping at Rathbun Lake and at Adventureland Campground. Joe spent many hours manicuring his yard and took pride in this. He looked forward to his afternoon lounging in the sun on his patio or poolside. Joe also enjoyed going out for dinner on the weekends. He cherished both his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and loved to tease them all. Joe was an Iowa Hawkeye fan, unless they were having a less than stellar performance.
Joe is survived by his wife, Shirley (Hayes) Cardani; children, Debbie (Cardani) McConville and son Michael Cardani (Misty Rosenberg); son-in-law, Dwight Pfannebecker; grandchildren, Becky McConville, Sarah McConville (Robert Raskie), Kaysie Cardani-Pfannebecker, Kylon Cardani, Bryce Cardani, Cody Zaputil, Zoe Melvin and Emma McConville; a brother, Jack (Jo) Cardani; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Bertha Cardani; and daughters, Kathy, Julie and Linda Cardani.
Mass of Christian burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Centerville with Father Bill Hubmann officiating. Burial will follow in the Oakland Cemetery in Centerville. A visitation will be held today at Lange Funeral Home and Crematory in Centerville from 5-8 p.m. with a rosary being held at the funeral home at 4:40 p.m.
Memorials have been established to a future high school scholarship in Joe’s name and may be given to Lange Funeral Home and Crematory, 1900 S. 18th St., Centerville, Iowa, 52544.
Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com.