Well-known GG biz owner passes

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BY TED APODACA: Tony Lalama can best be described as a simple man with a formal style.

He was a family man, a businessman, and an everyman who enjoyed conversing with friends and clients.

BY TED APODACA: Tony Lalama can best be described as a simple man with a formal style.

He was a family man, a businessman, and an everyman who enjoyed conversing with friends and clients.

Lalama was a fixture in the Garden Grove business community. He earned the city's  Spotlight Business Award in 2009. The tailor shop he ran for more than 40 years — B&C Tailors in the Pavilion Plaza at Brookhurst and Chapman —was not just a place to make a living. It was a calling. Some of his clients called him an artist when it came to repairing and altering clothes.

On Oct. 10, as Tony got ready for another day of work, he collapsed in his home and died.

He is survived by his wife, four adult children, and four grandchildren.

He also leaves behind a clientele shocked and saddened by the news that the tailor they considered a friend is gone so suddenly.

Lalama was born in Pacentro, Italy in 1939. He immigrated to the United States in 1955 with his parents and three brothers. His fourth and youngest brother would be born in the U.S.

His family settled in Youngstown, Ohio, where Lalama attended high school before joining the U.S. Army in 1963. Lalama served six years as an enlisted soldier and reservist, stationed mostly in Waco, Texas. During his time in the reserves he relocated to Westminster, where he met his wife Billie Jean Kincheloe.

The two were married on Nov. 12, 1966. By 1977, they had four kids and had moved into a Fountain Valley home they shared until his death.

Lalama loved his work. He loved his family and his friends and clients. He didn’t need a lot, as his work and family filled his life. When his children were young, Lalama took them bowling on weekends at Fountain Bowl near their home. When they lived in Westminster, his kids would get weekend trips for lunch at Pup & Taco.

Even after his kids moved out of the house, Friday night dinners at his home were a regular tradition. Later, his children would bring his grandchildren to the house for Friday night pasta. Lalama was a quiet man, but he could chew the fat with anyone. Many of his clients would stop by the tailor shop just to chat.

He would talk about business, Italy, sports, any number of topics. Having spent some of his teen years in Ohio, Lalama became a long-time and often suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

And Lalama enjoyed telling jokes. Often they were on the corny side, but the enthusiastic way with which he told them usually got a laugh. Lalama had an infectious smile when he talked and joked.

Lalama got his start in tailoring as an apprentice in Italy, at the age of 11. After moving to Youngstown, he got another apprenticeship before joining the Army. After his stint in the Army, he went back into the business, eventually taking over ownership of B&C Tailors.

In recent years, Lalama toyed with retirement, but couldn’t bring himself to give up the business he loved. When his children were young, Lalama enjoyed traveling with his family, but prior to the death of his parents, Carl and Anna, his only vacations were back to Ohio to visit them.

Lalama is survived by his wife Billie and children Angela Apodaca (spouse Ted), Marc (spouse Kathy), Renee Rettally (spouse James) and Larry. He also leaves behind four grandchildren, Dylan, 20, Madison, 18, Aidan, 14, and Emily, 4.

Lalama's life will be celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Heritage Dilday Chapel, at 17911 Beach Blvd. in Huntington Beach, starting at 4 p.m.

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