George Lipari, owner of Lipari’s Sun Fresh, dies

George Lipari, owner of Lipari Sun Fresh in the Red Bridge Shopping Center and a stalwart in the Red Bridge community for over 25 years, passed away Monday, November 13, from a short illness. He is survived by his wife Linda, his son Ross, daughters Jolynn and Maria, his mother Josephine and several grandchildren. He was 65.

Lipari grew up in the grocery business. In 1956, his father opened a Thriftway grocery store in Kansas City, KS., where George and his brothers learned the business. George opened his first Thriftway store in the Independence area. He sold it in 1987 after becoming a partner in a newly built Price Chopper at 103rd and State Line Rd. In 1991, George purchased Payless Groceries in the Red Bridge Shopping Center and turned it into Sun Fresh.

“I knew George only as a customer of his store, but felt like he was a friend. I think a lot of people felt that way about George,” says Rick Chambers, a longtime Red Bridge resident and Board Chair with the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. “He was constantly friendly and chatting with customers. His outgoing nature helped to make Sun Fresh feel like a real community place.”

“We have lost a pillar In the Italian community and he will be sorely missed,” said Jasper Mirable of Jasper’s.  “I can still see that smile on his face and hear that laugh. So sad to see someone so young we all loved so much pass.  He gave so much back to our community.”

George had seen the Red Bridge community change in the 25 years since he opened Sun Fresh. In that time big stores like WalMart, Target and even HyVee competed for his business, while the Center became more desolate. In a recent interview with the Martin City Telegraph, George was asked what kept him at Red Bridge. His response:  “It’s my life!”

Services have not been set at the time of this writing.