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Thursday, November 13, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Angelo Magnano, A Man Of Food, Faith, And Family

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Angelo Cooper Magnano imported Italian olive oil, cheeses and other foods under the Napoleon label. But his true calling was loyalty: to his faith, his family and community.

He showed unconditional love to everyone from street people to fellow entrepreneurs. And he showed uncommon zeal for religious philosophy and other things that interested him.

"He was the most forgiving person," said his daughter Susan Salazar of Kirkland. "At the end, there was no one for him to forgive because he just accepted everyone and everything."

"He was a great man and a great salesman," said his son Joe Magnano of Bellevue. "He was loyal to the family business 60 years, but also so intrinsically intelligent."

Mr. Magnano died of Parkinson's disease Friday (Nov. 7). He was 80.

With his brother Marco Magnano of Seattle, he ran the food-importing empire begun by their father, Antonio Magnano, in 1903. He also oversaw eight delicatessens.

Although The Napoleon Co. moved from Seattle to Bellevue in 1989, Mr. Magnano remained a Seattle resident; he had been since birth.

He attended Seattle Preparatory School. Planning to become a lawyer, he earned a liberal-arts degree at the University of Washington in 1937. But his brother bought some delicatessens and called in Mr. Magnano to help run them.

Mr. Magnano did that the rest of his life, as well as selling imported foods to grocery stores.

"My father helped introduce the Kikkoman line (of Japanese food) to stores in the Northwest, Schweppes quinine water and Perrier water," said Joe Magnano. "He basically sold all the Asian foods to the people that own Uwajimaya (stores) today."

Mr. Magnano, who collected watches and coins, championed his own Italian-American heritage, supporting clubs and events. He was involved in his Catholic faith, studying the lives of saints.

"He insisted on a personal integrity that was not swayed by the opinion of others," said the Rev. Steve Rowan in a homily at the Funeral Mass Tuesday at St. Anne Catholic Church. " `If someone were to jump off the Aurora Bridge,' he would say, `does that mean you would jump off, too?' "

Other survivors include his wife of 56 years, Mary Magnano of Seattle; his children the Rev. Paul Magnano, Seattle; Mary Smith, San Francisco; James Magnano, Seattle; John Magnano, Vancouver, Wash.; Ann Magnano, Seattle; and Joan Damm, Bainbridge Island; and 12 grandchildren.

Remembrances may go to Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, 100 23rd Ave. S., Seattle, WA, 98144; or any charity.

Carole Beers' phone message number is 206-464-2391. Her e-mail address is: cbee-new@seatimes.com

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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