Ray Savino's office, situated just above the checkouts at his Tyrone grocery store, was perfectly located for him to interact with his patrons.
He would take the time to greet each of them, said family friend Nick Leasure, and never missed the opportunity to hear concerns about the store's offerings.
"He was very, very good with people," Leasure said. "He was definitely a people person."
Leasure said his mom would visit the grocery store and ask Savino about products that she couldn't find in stock, and he was always willing to help her.
"He always made her feel like anything she needed he wanted to hear about it, and that's the way that everybody felt when they went to the store," he said.
Savino, who operated Ray's Riverside beginning in 1972, died Thursday. He was 76. A memorial service will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday.
The grocery store was much more than the source of Savino's livelihood, said Cary Simpson, president of Allegheny Radio Network, which owns WTRN in Tyrone. Simpson said the station would broadcast each year from Riverside's Halloween party, which allowed Savino to meet with hundreds of local kids.
Simpson said Savino wasn't very interested in his on-air duties during those events.
"He was so busy - he didn't want to talk on the radio. He wanted to be right there," Simpson said. "He wanted to talk to each of the kids. The gleam was in his eye."
Savino always made sure there were snacks and refreshments for the kids at the party, and he would be the first one to hand them out, Simpson said.
"I just smile when I think of it," he said.
Savino's schedule was typically easy to plot, Leasure said. Even if he didn't answer the phone, friends and family would know where to find him.
Leasure said Savino would mow his 8-acre plot every Thursday. It wasn't an activity he tended to miss.
"He was as happy as he was on those Thursday mornings," Leasure said. "You could never get a hold of him, but you knew exactly where he was going to be on those Thursday mornings."
Savino also had a deep love for sports, especially the Pittsburgh Pirates, Leasure said. Savino attended the Pirates' training camp regularly before that become a common practice, Leasure said.
He collected his fair share of baseball memorabilia, too. At one point, Savino had the autographs of about 70 percent of the players in the baseball Hall of Fame, Leasure said.
Penn State sports and outdoor pursuits like fishing were also among his favorites, Leasure said.
Local sports didn't escape his interest, either. Leasure said he was a basketball player for Tyrone and at St. Francis. As a gift, after Leasure entered medical school, Savino mounted old basketball jerseys for him, he said.
"His life revolved around his family and his interests, and he loved and enjoyed those," Leasure said. "He meant a lot to a lot of people."
Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.