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Local pizza empire matriarch Caroline Demetroff dies at 93

May 5, 2019

Caroline Josephine Demetroff was born in Fort Wayne on April 9, 1926, and after her marriage to Alexander “Lexy” Demetroff in 1947, the couple launched a pizza empire in the Summit City.

Caroline Demetroff died on Friday at the age of 93.

With two young sons to take care of : Kevin and Alexander (Alex) Jr.  : Caroline and Lexy, who preceded her in death in 2005, opened Alexander’s in 1956, an Italian restaurant and bar that served pizza. It was the first of over a dozen pizza shops the couple owned and operated in Fort Wayne.

Among the names of those eateries that still operate today are the Lexy’s pizza chain, Amore Pizza and River Bend Pizza, which is owned and operated by Alex and his wife Denise, as well as Caroline’s granddaughters, Marisa Sickles and Alexandra “Lexi” Demetroff.

Alex shared in a 2010 article in The Journal Gazette that his best business advice came from his parents, including his mother’s favorite mantra, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.”

He echoed how much he respected her work ethic on Sunday, and added that his family is doing its best to share a lot of laughs because she would have wanted it that way given her great sense of humor.

“I know the stars in the sky will be shining brighter because she is up there on her hands and knees scrubbing them,” Alex said, adding his father is probably right there beside her doing the same.

Caroline was a Central High School and International Business College graduate, and worked on the homefront during World War II testing bomb sights for S.F. Bowser and Co.

Pizza was not Caroline’s only forte. She not only created Polish delicacies, she learned to master the Macedonian food her husband was raised on and her entire family would assemble every winter to make an array of homemade sausages in preparation for the holidays. She was also an avid gardener and loved to fish. A photo of one of her prize catches recently appeared on The Journal Gazette’s recreation page on March 10.

Calling is 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. today at D.O. McCombs & Sons Funeral Home, 4017 Maplecrest Road. Funeral Mass will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday with visitation one hour prior at St. Jude Catholic Church, 2130 Pemberton Drive.

rduvall@jg.net

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