John A. Tumolo, cofounder of Rita's Water Ice

John A.Tumolo
John A.Tumolo
Posted: July 08, 2012

John A. Tumolo, 52, a founder of Rita's Water Ice, died of cancer Thursday, July 5, at his home in Yardley.

Shortly after his brother, Bob, and mother, Elizabeth, opened Rita's Water Ice on Bristol Pike in Bensalem in 1984, Mr. Tumolo joined the business. Over the course of 20 years, the family water-ice stand grew into a well-known business with franchises in 11 states.

After the Tumolo brothers sold Rita's in 2005, Mr. Tumolo opened several Saladworks in the area and two Wit or Witout Cheesesteaks, in Philadelphia and Brookhaven.

Mr. Tumolo was born and raised in South Philadelphia, where he attended St. Monica's grade school and South Philadelphia High. He lived in Yardley for the last 17 years.

Mr. Tumolo was a family man who delighted in summers spent in Ocean City, N.J., with his wife, two daughters, son-in-law, and grandchildren, plus a large extended family. He also enjoyed traveling abroad, taking trips to Italy and Aruba.

He loved winemaking, looking forward each year to the "crush day" that marked the beginning of the season and sharing his vintage with family and friends.

"We're toasting him now," said Diane Monte Tumolo, his wife of 30 years.

Mr. Tumolo "was really positive, and he had a zest for life," she said. At the end of his life, "he fought as hard as he could fight."

Besides his wife and brother, he is survived by his daughters, Dina Mesaros and Alyssa; grandsons Bryan Jr. and Johnny Mesaros; his father, Anthony; and a sister, Denise Whipps.

Friends may call between 5 and 8 p.m. Monday, July 9, and after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 10, at the Fitzgerald-Sommer Funeral Home, 19 S. Delaware Ave., Yardley. A funeral Mass will follow at 10:30 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church, 752 Big Oak Road, Morrisville. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery, Bensalem.

Memorial donations may be made to Philadelphia Friends of the V Foundation for Cancer Research via www.phillyfriendsofv.org.


Contact Kristen Graham

at 215-854-5146, kgraham@phillynews.com, or on Twitter @newskag.

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