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For Tom Zanetos, it was his military experience that led him into the candy business.
He and his father Anthony Zanetos were trying to get a company off the ground in the 1940s, but times were bad and sugar was rationed.
However, Tom had served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and as a veteran, he was able to get a 30,000-lb. annual allotment of sugar — and thus, he became an instant partner in the company.
Together, with his dad they first opened the Crystal Fountain Restaurant. But they soon discovered that it was the candy sales that were booming. So, the father-son duo decided to make candy a full-time trade.
Using their first names, they formed the Anthony-Thomas Candy Co. in 1952.
Tom Zanetos died Oct. 24, at 94 years old.
He was born April 24, 1920 to Greek immigrants Anthony and his wife Lula Zanetos.
And during his lifetime, he built the Anthony-Thomas Candy Co. up, presided over its three expansions and eventual move to the company's current 152,000-sq.-ft. factory at 1777 Arlingate Ln., Columbus, Ohio.
Today, besides making candy for 14 local retail outlets, they also have a fund-raising division and contract-manufacturing division. The company is one of the largest family-owned and operated candy companies in the mid-west and employs more than 200 people and produces an average of 50,000 pounds of chocolates on three shifts daily. Currently Anthony-Thomas is expanding its retail, wholesale and contract-manufacturing divisions.
Married his high school sweetheart
Zanetos also married Agnes Squeo on Sept. 29, 1941.
The two were high school sweethearts who worked together in the confectionery business for some 47 years. She started out as a candy dipper, then worked in the retail store and had secretarial duties as her husband and father-in-law, Anthony Zanetos, built their new business. Agnes later served as an officer of the company, secretary-treasurer, retiring from that position in 2001 at the age of 80.
After 50 years of marriage, they renewed their vows at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral Sept. 29, 1991. She passed away May 15, 2010 at 89 years old.
A life filled with service
Tom Zanetos also was an active member and served on the Board of the Retail Confectioners International.
But his involvement in outside activities didn’t stop there. He also was very philanthropic and believed in community service.
Zanetos was among the earlier pioneers of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, which his father helped found, and is considered one of the founders of the Columbus Greek Orthodox Community. He chaired the 75th anniversary of the church and the commemorative album for the 25th anniversary of the Greek Festival in 1997.
Tom also received the Small Businessman of the Year for the State of Ohio. And, he and his wife received the Christopher Columbus Educational Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for scholarship money they gave year after year. The two were noted in the Columbus Dispatch for their generosity.
He served on the Franklinton Commission, the Franklinton Board of Trade, the Columbus Countywide Development Corp. and served on a city task force under several mayors. He also owned and cleaned up several properties around Franklinton, served as Cancer Crusader Chairman, and was a member of Kiwanis.
Tom Zanetos is survived by his sons, Anthony of Hilliard, Joe (Carol) of Upper Arlington, Greg of Columbus, and Tim of Dublin; grandchildren, Carla (Steve) Scully, of Hilliard, Candi (Michael) Trifelos of Upper Arlington, Tommy and Mike Zanetos of Columbus; great-grandchildren, John, Sam, Joey and Mikey Scully of Hilliard, and Nicholas, Mark and Alex Trifelos of Upper Arlington; sisters, Beulah Trotter of Columbus, and Frankie Collaros of Steubenville; sisters-in-law, Nikki Zanetos of Delaware, Ohio, and Kathryn Squeo of Columbus; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Agnes Squeo Zanetos, and brothers Nick and John Zanetos.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Greek Orthodox Church. Condolences may be sent via www.johnquint.com.