Sam (Salvatore ) A. Cingari, Jr., a devoted family man, Founder, Partner and Chief Financial Officer of Grade A Markets and the Cingari Family ShopRite of Southwestern Connecticut, and a prominent figure in the Stamford community, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
He was born on October 15, 1930, of Italian immigrants, in Stamford, Conn., and was the youngest of six children. The Cingari family were active members of St. Mary Parish. Sam attended Rogers grammar school and graduated from Stamford High School in 1949. Sam was a lifelong Stamford resident whose boyhood was spent working beside his father who was a grocery peddler. In his teenage years he delivered groceries to many customers of his father’s now small corner market Grade A.
In 1949, Sam left Stamford for the first time to earn a degree in accounting at Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I. It was here that Sam met his wife, Catherine Franco, at church on their first weekend on campus. Sam and Cathy were married on September 1, 1952 and committed their lives to raising a family in their faith and serving their church and larger community. They were married for 66 years. Sam began his career as an accountant for a local accounting firm before joining his father and two brothers at Grade A Market where he worked every day up until his final days.
Sam was predeceased by his parents Salvatore and Rosa Cingari, his beloved wife Catherine (Cathy) Cingari and his siblings Catina Sciaba, Dominick P. Cingari, Joseph Cingari, Rocco Cingari and Mary Cutugno. Sam is survived by his six children, Rosemary, John (Tricia), Michael, Tom (Sue), David(Janine), Mary Donovan (Brian), 15 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren as well as many nieces, nephews and dear friends. Of all the titles Sam possessed, his most precious was his title “Papa” as he was known and loved by his beloved grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all their friends he so graciously welcomed into his home for the famous Sunday cookouts throughout the years.
As a lifelong Stamford resident, Sam was active at ShopRite/Grade A Markets, where he was always found greeting customers in the aisles and mentoring employees but also serving the people in the greater Stamford community at large. Sam was the driving force behind the customer-centered culture that is the trademark of the now -12 Cingari Family ShopRite supermarkets across Connecticut. As a grocer and philanthropist, Sam was especially dedicated to fighting hunger, a passion that eventually led to his being named Chairman of the Board of the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. Sam and his brothers were recognized as Corporate Citizens for their companies’ lifelong contributions enabling the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County to feed the hungry throughout their community. In 2003, they were also honored as Ambassadors to Humanity.
In addition, Sam served his community as an active member of the Board of Directors for St. John’s Towers, the low-income housing for the City of Stamford since 1992. He was also a member of the Board of Directors for St. Joseph’s Hospital from 1985-2000 and the YMCA for 25 years. Sam was a member of the Connecticut Grand Opera and Orchestra Board of Directors and a sponsor of the New York Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center for 45 years. He was honored as The Stamford Citizen Of The Year in 2001 and State Street Debating Society’s Man Of The Year in 2001. In addition, Sam was honored by the Knights of Columbus as the Grand Marshall of the 2006 Columbus Day Parade.
Sam and his family became active members of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Stamford, established in their neighborhood in 1964. Sam dedicated his time, talent and treasure assisting in the building of a church, school and parish community. Sam was a member of the first Parish Council and was elected Trustee in 1990 and served in this capacity for over 25 years. In 2005, Sam was awarded the St. Augustine Medal of Service by the Most Reverend William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport and in 2018, Pope Francis bestowed upon Sam the Papal honor of Knight of the Order of St. Sylvester Pope, for living a life of exemplary faith and excelling in business and society, which was awarded to him by the Most Reverend Bishop J. Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Sam and Cathy Cingari have left a remarkable legacy steeped in virtue and values of faith, family, humble leadership, care and serving in Fairfield County, Conn. They have served and supported many organizations, and their children and grandchildren continue to honor their legacy. A legacy best described in the sacred words of Scripture so dear to Sam: “If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better” – Luke 12:48
Calling hours will be private. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary’s Catholic Church 566 Elm St., Stamford, Conn. on Wednesday, March 15, at 11 am. Burial will follow at St. John’s Cemetery in Darien immediately following Mass.
During this most solemn holy season of Lent, flower arrangements can not be accepted at the funeral home or the Church. Thank you for your understanding.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, you consider a donation in Sam’s honor to: The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, 461 Glenbrook Road, Stamford, CT 06906, or via https://www.foodbanklfc.org/how-to-help#MonetaryDonations
Arrangements are under the direction of Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home (203)-359-9999. To send online condolences to the Cingari family, please visit https://gallagherfuneralhome.com