Loftin “Lofty” Leydorf, a South Toledo butcher and grocery store operator whose smoke-cured hams and bacon were featured at some of Toledo's most well-known restaurants, died Tuesday in the Lutheran Village at Wolf Creek. He was 98.
His cause of death was not known.
Mr. Leydorf's grocery store at 1940 Broadway was one of Toledo's oldest markets when it closed in 1967. Its origins dated to 1903, when the market was started by his father, Frederick Leydorf, a German-born sausage maker.
The younger Mr. Leydorf “was a great man,” said Jim Thomas, owner of the former Bud & Luke's Restaurant, for decades a popular eatery on Madison Avenue before it closed in 1996.
“Two of his biggest customers were Bud & Luke's and Grace Smith Cafeteria. Most of his bacon and ham he cured right there in his own smokehouse. Those were dry-smoked, really great hams and bacon,” Mr. Thomas said.
A whiff of the fragrances from the hickory wood burning in the smokehouse behind the market was worth a visit, he said.
He described Mr. Leydorf as an easygoing man who would go to great lengths to help his customers.
“If you got busy and ran out of things on the weekend, he would bring more to you right away, still in his shirt and tie he wore from church,” Mr. Thomas said.
Born in Toledo, Mr. Leydorf left school at a young age to work in the family market.
Over the years, the store featured fancy groceries and built up a commercial business with steady sales to other retailers, such as the White Tower Sandwich Shops and Bowling Green State University.
In his spare time, he sang in the choir for many years at St. Lucas Lutheran Church, and was a guest soloist in area churches for Easter, Christmas, and funeral services.
Surviving are his wife, Dorothy; son, Fred; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Services will be private. Arrangements by the Walter Funeral Home. The family requests tributes to St. Lucas Lutheran Church or a charity of the donor's choice.
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