|Birth: ||Mar. 30, 1947|
Los Angeles County
|Death: ||Dec. 12, 2009|
Yucaipa loses a hometown hero and friend
Lonny David Saverino, 62, of Yucaipa, died Dec. 15, 2009 in Banning as the result of a traffic accident.
Born March 30, 1947 in Pasadena, he was a Yucaipa resident for the past 51 years.
Saverino was the chief executive officer of Green Thumb Produce in Banning for 14 years.
He is survived by his wife, Caryn Saverino of Yucaipa; daughter Shelley Console and her husband Mick of Yucaipa; son David Saverino and his wife, Veronica, of Redlands; son Nicholas Saverino and his wife, Monique, of Redlands; two step-sons, Nathan Ingalls of Yucaipa and Mike Ingalls of Redlands; father, David Saverino of Beaumont and four grandchildren.
Saverino was well known for his generosity. He donated goods and funds to many charities and organizations.
"He was a very warm and loving man," said friend Kandie Cansler. "When he saw you, he would scoop you up into a big bear hug."
"He also shared with everyone. He was so giving," she added.
"He was a big man with a big heart," said friend Pastor Willie Dalgity, who said they became friends 20 years ago through the church. Saverino was also generous to Set Free's ministries providing produces for the ranches.
"He was a good man, dad, husband, son and friend," Dalgity said. "I will miss him and I know I will see him again."
"Lonny always smelled yummy," said friend Janet Parton. "He was renowned for wearing exquisite cologne."
A celebration of his life was held Dec. 22 at Calvary Chapel in Redlands Interment followed at Desert Lawn Memorial Park.
Cortner Chapel assisted the family with arrangements.
Yuciapa News Mirror 12/26/09
Friends, family and business associates are mourning the loss of Lonny David Saverino, a longtime Yucaipa resident and one of the owners of Green Thumb Produce in Banning.
Mr. Saverino died Tuesday following a traffic collision Dec. 10 at Sunset Avenue and Ramsey Street. He was 62.
"I'm going to remember Lonny as a big guy with a big heart," said Jim McConnell, executive director of Carol's Kitchen, which serves meals in the Pass area to people in need. Almost all of the charity's produce is donated by Green Thumb.
Erin Waldner/The Press-Enterprise
A memorial was erected for Lonny David Saverino near Sunset Avenue and Ramsey Street in Banning, the site of his fatal traffic accident.
Pastor Willie Dalgity from Set Free Ministry in Yucaipa grew close to Mr. Saverino about 20 years ago.
"I look at him as a big teddy bear," Dalgity said. He was a big man but inside he "was a loving man, a very caring man," Dalgity said.
Mr. Saverino donated produce to numerous churches and organizations.
"His generosity is great," said Allen DeMo, general manager of Green Thumb.
He recalled Mr. Saverino recently giving a stranger $100 out of his pocket to buy a Christmas present. He also recalled the recent staff Christmas party where employees received $20,000 in gifts. Mr. Saverino wanted everyone to have something, DeMo said.
Mr. Saverino was born March 30, 1947 in Pasadena and grew up in Yucaipa.
He started Green Thumb about 20 years ago "with a push cart on street corners and trailer parks," DeMo said. The company now supplies produce for major grocery store chains. With 250 workers, it is one of the largest employers in Banning.
Mr. Saverino did business the old-fashioned way, McConnell said.
Said DeMo: "His integrity and his ethics were impeccable. He believed in a handshake to close a deal. He always said his word was his bond."
Jim Auchard is a salesman for Prime Time International, a Coachella grower that has done business with Green Thumb the past 14 years. He described Mr. Saverino as "very energetic" with "a lot of charisma" and a "very good person."
"He was a joy to work with and will be sorely missed," Auchard said.
Lonny David Saverino
A deli at Green Thumb constitutes a small part of Green Thumb's profits. Mr. Saverino kept it going so he could talk to people, DeMo said.
Pastor Marc Stamper from Pure Rock Church in Beaumont said, "You'd look forward to going over there, and if you saw (Mr. Saverino) it was even better."
Green Thumb donated food to Stamper's church. The pastor said Mr. Saverino was very, very generous.
Businessman Jim Smith met Mr. Saverino in the mid-1990s when the Banning Chamber of Commerce was assigned to feed participants in a local Civil War re-enactment.
When he approached Mr. Saverino about a donation, Mr. Saverino said, "Grab a shopping cart. Let's go." That was the first time they'd met.
Smith left with two grocery carts of food.
Mr. Saverino is survived by his wife, Caryn Saverino, daughter Shelley Console, sons David Saverino and Nicholas Saverino, stepsons Nathan Ingalls and Mike Ingalls and father David Saverino.
A celebration of life will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday at Calvary Chapel Packinghouse in Redlands.
Erin Waldner/The Press-Enterprise
Desert Lawn Memorial Park
Plot: St L 330-H
Created by: Cindy R
Record added: Dec 19, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 45607865