Harry Ochs dies

Dressed as Marilyn Monroe, Marion "Tootsie" D'Ambrosio joins Harry Ochs at Reading Terminal Market film festivities in May.

Harry Ochs, whose grandfather founded a family meat stand at Reading Terminal Market in 1906, died today of cancer at age 80, according to a market representative.

In 2004, the 1100 block of Filbert Street was renamed Harry Ochs Way in his honor.

To many, he was the mayor of the market.

"A lot of people have asked me, 'How did you do it for 56 years? ' " he said at the 2004 ceremony. "I tell them it was easy. I had great friends. . . . I had great customers."

Generations of Ochses virtually were raised in the market, according to a 2004 account. Ochs' grandfather, Harry, started the business in Pottstown in 1896. On the invitation of officials from the Reading Railroad, the senior Ochs set up in the newly built Reading Terminal in 1906. The business eventually was turned over to his son (also Harry), and then to Harry Ochs, who started working at his father's shop after school when he was 14.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Here's a story from May by The Inquirer's Rick Nichols about some of the market's old-timers.

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