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March 21, 1944 – July 20, 2014

Mary Anne Marchione, the founder and owner of Francesca’s Italian Cuisine in South Buffalo, died Sunday in her South Buffalo home. She was 70.

Born Mary Anne Guarnieri in Buffalo, she graduated from Bishop O’Hern High School in 1961.

Upon graduation, she worked at a local post office for a few years. In 1969, she married Edward Rocco Marchione, who died in 2006.

Together, they opened Marchione’s Family Restaurant in 1987 on Seneca Street. They operated the small locale for 14 years. After Mr. Marchione became ill in 2001, they sold the restaurant.

When the new owner died, Mrs. Marchione took back the building. She gutted and revamped the restaurant, and named the now-South Buffalo Italian staple for her first granddaughter.

Francesca’s opened in 2009 with a mayoral salute during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“This is a wonderful day on Seneca Street,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said in front of the upscale Italian restaurant.

The mayor praised the Marchione family for doing “a tremendous job.”

The restaurant became a hit. It was nominated for Artvoice’s Best New Restaurant in 2010 and won first place for the Taste of Buffalo’s Best Comfort Food in 2012 and Healthy Choice Award in 2013.

The entrepreneur jumpstarted something more than a family restaurant, which her son, Steven, now manages. The restaurant led a resurgence along Seneca Street.

Mrs. Marchione, known as No-Nonsense Mary, was a strong and proud business owner. Her family also remembers her as loving and kindhearted and that she looked happiest around her grandchildren. A generous woman, she couldn’t say “no” to anyone who needed anything. She donated to many charities.

Until her death, Mrs. Marchione took an active role in the business, making the payroll, accounting and purchasing decisions.

Survivors include two sons, Edward J. and Steven A; a daughter, Theresa A. Edwards; three brothers, Raymond, Joey and Robert Guarnieri; two sisters, Lorraine Bova and Joanne Schiller; and seven grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Thursday in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Orchard Park.