City loses Veni’s Al Marazita, who ‘lived and breathed Niles’

Published 4:19 am Saturday, October 9, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The city of Niles will never be the same.
That is how Lou Liebetrau described the passing of long-time Veni Sweet Shop owner Albert Marazita. Marazita passed away Thursday evening following a brief illness at the age of 71.
Albert, born May, 23 1933, was one of 11 children born to Frank and Josephine Marazita, Italian immigrants who moved to Niles in the early 1900s.
When Frank returned home from serving in World War I, he was joined by his wife and first son, Joe in America. Shortly thereafter, they had 10 more children, Albert being the second youngest.
Five of the Marazita brothers served in the United States Army at one time or another. John, Paul and Ernie served in World War II. Tony and Albert served in Korea .
Veni Sweet Shop was opened Dec. 7, 1939, by Albert's brother, Joe and his wife Josephine Marazita. Although he was six when the shop was opened, Albert would eventually come to own the family business.
Marazita attended Niles High School where he was a member of the track team's 880 relay squad which won the State Championship with a state record time. Marazita graduated from Niles High School in 1952.
Marazita began working at Veni Sweet Shop in 1958, and took over the shop in 1976 and operated it until he recently became ill.
Liebetrau, co-chair of the Veterans Memorial Committee and a regular at the candy shop, became close with Marazita in 2001 when she told him about the veterans memorial project she was undertaking.
Liebetrau said Albert firmly believed Niles should have a veterans memorial and backed every effort she made to make the memorial a reality.
One instance of Marazita's support of the project stuck in Liebetrau's mind. One day when Liebetrau was talking to him, Marazita posted a flyer advertising the memorial in the shop window.
Liebetrau said she was saddened that Marazita will not get to see the memorial's dedication.
Marazita always spoke of his family with pride and joy anytime he spoke with Liebetrau.
After his brother Joe died, Marazita stopped making one of Liebetrau's favorite sweets from the shop.
Marazita also contributed to the restoration of the War Memorial Clock in 1999. The clock was a gift to the City by the Navy Mothers.
Juan Ganum, Niles City Community Development Director, worked with Marazita on the clock restoration.
Marazita funded the restoration of the clock, while other community members donated their services to the restoration.
Liebetrau noted that Marazita's personality was very unique.