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Published: Friday, 5/2/2003

Kroger worker fulfilled dream of owning golf course

TEMPERANCE - Frank Simone Sr., 75, owner and founder of Giant Oak Golf Club here who worked at Kroger for more than 30 years, died of lung cancer Wednesday in his home.

Family members and friends described Mr. Simone as driven, focused, and loyal to those he was close to. Mr. Simone, working as a night supervisor at the Kroger warehouse in Livonia, Mich., wanted to become a business owner.

In 1969, he and three other people purchased land in Temperance and developed the Giant Oaks Golf Club, family members said.

“He used to golf at Raisin River,” said his daughter Marianne Robinson. “He was looking for a business to invest in. They thought about a bowling alley because that was also something my Dad enjoyed. This property became available, and they bought it.”

Mrs. Robinson said the golf course fit in with her father's philosophy of taking chances. He was a veteran at Kroger, but wanted to build something of his own as well.

“All of his grandsons play hockey, and there's a saying, `You can't make the goal if you don't shoot it,'” she said. “That pretty much described my father. He believed strongly in what he was doing, and he felt you'd never reach your goals unless you took a chance.”

That dedication led Mr. Simone to drive from his then home in Trenton, Mich., to Temperance when the club opened in 1969, then to his regular job in Livonia on a regular basis.

She said the course opened with nine holes. Mrs. Robinson said the back nine opened in 1971 and the executive course was added in 1977.

The family moved from Trenton to Giant Oaks Estates in Temperance, which Mr. Simone also helped develop, in 1986.

A friend, Ray Zorba, said Mr. Simone was mentally and emotionally tough.

“He was strong-willed,” Mr. Zorba said. “I don't know if he had a passion for golf, but he had a passion for his business.”

Mr. Zorba said Mr. Simone was instrumental in hosting the DDQ Golf Tournament, a charity that raised $27,000 annually. The tournament has been held for 15 years at the course.

He served in the Army during World War II and worked 33 years at Kroger, retiring in 1974.

Surviving are his wife, Alba, whom he married in 1951; son, Frank, Jr.; daughters, Marianne Robinson and Jeanne Howey; sister, Gertrude Ventura, and nine grandchildren.

The body will be in the Bedford Funeral Chapel, Temperance, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. The family requests tributes to the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department or the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township.


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