Thousands turn out to celebrate Eddie Basha's life - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

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Thousands turn out to celebrate Eddie Basha's life

Eddie Basha (Source: Facebook) Eddie Basha (Source: Facebook)
CHANDLER, AZ (CBS5) -

Arizona grocery icon Eddie Basha's life was celebrated Saturday.

ASU Gammage was filled with thousands of people who came out to say their last goodbye.

Basha died last month after battling health problems. He was 75 years old. The chairman and CEO of the Bashas' family-owned grocery store chain is survived by his wife and six sons.

Generations of family members filled the state inside ASU Gammage on Saturday for the ceremony that lasted nearly two hours.

"He was passionate about people. People as individuals, not as collective groups and he would do what he could to help people," Eddie Basha's son Trey Basha said.

The Basha name was known for the family owned grocery stores, but Eddie Basha was also known as an education advocate, a philanthropist, a politician who ran for governor in 1994 and a man who grew up in Chandler.

"Eddie was one of the most generous, giving kind of people I have ever met," Col. Olin Hogan with the Salvation Army said.

"He used to ride his bicycle past our house all the time and I have two sisters who are twins, they are identical twins but he could always tell them apart," family friend Jeannine Monti-Vita said.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in memory of Basha be sent to St. Vincent de Paul, The Salvation Army, First Things First, the Adelante Foundation - or to a special charity of your choice.

The company has more than 130 stores serving every county in Arizona, as well as Needles, CA, and Crownpoint, NM.

It is the only family-owned supermarket chain in Arizona and the seventh-largest employer in the state.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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