Peter M. Marziano, 88, of Lafayette Hill and Sarasota, Fla., who had a 50-year career in the men’s clothing business, including as the last president of Jacob Reed’s Sons, died Tuesday, April 10, of a stroke at Pennsylvania Hospital–Penn Medicine.
Mr. Marziano was president and CEO of the haberdashery, based in Philadelphia, from 1977 until it closed in 1983, a casualty of changing styles in men’s clothing and the lure of department stores.
Established in 1824, the enterprise thrived for many years from a store at 1424 Chestnut St. in Center City, as well as others in Haverford, Jenkintown, Chestnut Hill, Atlantic City, Annapolis, Md., Wilmington, and Washington.
The stores sought to attract highbrow customers, “selling only the character of merchandise that appealed to the discriminating buyer,” according to the company’s 1924 bicentennial booklet.
By 1981, though, the business had been acquired by Hughes & Hatcher, a property of United Department Stores. In an Oct. 8, 1981, story in the Wilmington Morning News, Mr. Marziano put the best face possible on the company’s fortunes, saying a shortage of cash to pay creditors was only temporary.
“United and Hughes & Hatcher are both good firms,” he was quoted as saying. “We’ll pull out of it.”
But two years later, the company closed. The ornate Jacob Reed Building, site of the former flagship store on Chestnut Street, is now a CVS Pharmacy. The firm’s tailored jackets, trousers, and topcoats can be bought for a song on eBay.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Marziano graduated from Roman Catholic High School. He served with the Army during the Korean War.
He started his career as a buyer at John Wanamaker and then moved on to Jacob Reed’s.
After Jacob Reed’s shut down, Mr. Marziano spent time in the wholesale end of the garment trade. He worked for Grief Co. and H. Freeman Clothing Co., both in New York. His final position was head of merchandising for the Tom James Co., a made-to-order apparel company with an outlet in King of Prussia.
“He traveled all over the world and worked with many well-known designers,” said his wife, Jenny Lewis Marziano.
He retired in 2007 and enjoyed spending time with friends and family at his home in Sarasota.
Mr. Marziano was a dedicated civic volunteer. Over the last two decades, he and his wife helped raise $1 million for Pennsylvania Hospital, now part of Penn Medicine. They raised the funds through donations and through the annual Pennsylvania Hospital Golf Tournament held at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club.
An avid golfer, Mr. Marziano was a member of the country club for many years. He enjoyed following Philadelphia sports teams.
He was always impeccably dressed. “He always wore suits while he was working,” his wife said.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by children Lisa Milus and Peter III; six grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; a sister; and many nieces and nephews.
A visitation starting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 18, will be followed by an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass at St. Philip Neri Church, 437 Ridge Pike, Lafayette Hill, Pa. 19444. Burial will be private.
Memorial donations may be made to the church at the address above.