Celebration of life, services to be held today for owner of Giovanni’s in Fairborn

A funeral will be held today followed by a celebration of life for Anthony F.M. “Tony” Spaziani, the owner of Giovanni’s Pizzeria é Ristorante Italiano in Fairborn. Spaziani died on Monday, Aug. 29 at the age of 74.

The funeral will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of the Ascension in Kettering, followed by a burial at Calvary Cemetery in Dayton. The family will host a celebration of life at 1:30 p.m. at Giovanni’s, said Cassaundra Spaziani, Tony’s daughter.

Cassaundra told Dayton.com her father had a mild heart attack three weeks prior to his death and died from complications.

Giovanni’s, known as one of the region’s longest-established restaurants, was founded in 1953. Spaziani purchased the restaurant in 1994 and had since doubled the restaurant’s dining space by adding a banquet room and opening an in-house bakery.

Cassaundra said her father grew up in New York in the hospitality industry and came to the Dayton area to attend the University of Dayton. He received his master’s in communications and sold insurance before purchasing Giovanni’s, but always had a side job or weekend job bartending.

“He loved Fairborn. He loved Dayton,” Cassaundra said. “He was from New York and came here to go to college and chose to stay here. He loved the area and always wanted it to be better.”

Spaziani began to step away from Giovanni’s about nine years ago when Cassaundra returned to the restaurant. She explained she worked at Giovanni’s as a kid and throughout high school and college, but her father wanted her to be a manager at a corporate restaurant to learn more about the industry.

She also said her father would still come to the restaurant for lunch and dinner. He enjoyed sitting at the bar and talking with everyone.

Cassaundra described her father as a very kind person that would do things quietly regarding giving back.

There were several times when Giovanni’s would pick a random day and donate 50 percent of its sales to help others during a natural disaster, Cassaundra explained.

Spaziani not only helped those he didn’t know, but he took care of the people that worked for him.

“So many employees past and present have reached out and said he was a great man to work for,” Cassaundra said.

From going to his employees’ sporting events and performances to helping them make their first down payment on a car, he was of service to others, she explained.

Cassaundra said he was active in the Fairborn Rotary and Chamber of Commerce. He also volunteered in the community at every chance he received.

“I honestly could not have asked for a better person as a parent,” Cassaundra said. “He was just a good person.”

Spaziani was also known as the founder of the Italian Fall Festa, Cassaundra said.

She explained that some of her best memories with her father were catering events and spending Sundays together.

“If anybody met him, it was a blessing they were lucky enough to meet him (and) to know him,” Cassaundra said.

Giovanni’s will continue to have the roots Spaziani planted in the restaurant.

“He knew the joy food could bring and shared his talents and love with those that entered our restaurant,” Cassaundra said in a Facebook post announcing her father’s death.” We will always honor his memory at Giovanni’s and he will still be a part of everything we do.”

Spaziani is survived by his two daughters, Cassaundra Spaziani and Jennifer Madden, along with four grandchildren and many other family members and friends.

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