ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. —
Dolores Thomas (Fleury), former Pizza Villa owner, 91, passed away in Zephyrhills, Fla., on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014.
She was a Depression-era child and knew poverty and hard work. Dolores dropped out of school to help support her family during the Depression. She worked on the family farm in Guys Mills, and for Talon and the Viscose in Meadville. During World War II, she operated a crane in a Pittsburgh Steel Mill while her husband was in the Navy. Her best known business enterprise was her association with Pizza Villa — first, at the lower Chestnut Street location, and later at the present South Main Street location. She started as a minimum wage waitress at the Chestnut Street store and through hard work and a keen business sense, she advanced to shift manager, co-owner and eventually, owner. She is remembered as practical and an exceptionally hard worker. She eventually lived above the Pizza Villa and its famous icon, “Luigi,” whose custom made costumes changed with the seasons. She retired from the pizza business in the ’80s and became a snowbird (Florida term for northern visitors). She seasonally traveled to her beloved trailer in Florida. Along with her partner Ed O’Nan, she made the southern trek back and forth many years until his death in the early ’90s. She then moved permanently to her special retreat. At Hunters Run she met her current husband, Will Fleury, and married him in 2003. Together they lived at the park until her passing. She recently was honored at Hunters Run Resort’s 25th Anniversary celebration, where she was cited as an original member.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dick Thomas, in 1963; mother, Theresa; father, Silvio Cosner; and brother, George.
Survivors include her beloved husband, Will Fleury of Zephyrhills; daughter, Melinda (Larry) Crawley of Ringgold, Ga.; son, Gary (Pat) of Philadelphia; four grandchildren, Steve Skiles, and Amy, Karen and Rick Moran-Thomas; great-grandchild, Meghan Skiles; and sister-in-law, Donna Cosner of Conneaut Lake.
A Florida funeral was held Feb. 1 and a private Meadville interment will take place on Saturday. She will be laid to rest at Greendale Cemetery with her first husband, Dick Thomas. After the interment a memorial celebration will be held at the Pizza Villa Annex, 962 S. Main St., Meadville, from 1 to 5 p.m., with a 2:30 memorial service. The family invites all who knew Dolores to share the photos, slideshow and stories about this remarkable woman. Of course, Pizza Villa pizza will be served. This is a wonderful afternoon of fond remembrance about a life well lived. She is remembered as a woman with a good sense for business in an era when women did not go into business. She is also known to her family for her many anonymous contributions and acts of charity. In this spirit, the family requests that donations may be made to HPH Hospice, 37439 Clinton Ave., Dade City, Fla. Contact hph-hospice.org.
Arrangements were under the direction of Hodges Family Funeral Home, 36327 Highway 54, Zephyrhills.