16609 Tue, 07/21/2009 - 11:49am
LAKEWOOD, N.J. -Tony Kirsimagi, who helped make J.C. Penney the largest retailer of home textiles products in the country during the 1990s, died on July 19 following a brief illness. He was 73 and a memorial service will be held here this Saturday.
Kirsimagi spent 30 years at Penney, retiring 13 years ago. “Tony was the first buyer to have the guts to run decorative comforters year round as bedspreads had been dominant,” said Steve McKeever, former Penney exec who worked with Kirsimagi for eight years. “As a result, he drove the top-of-the-bed business from less than $100 million to well over $500 million.
“In my estimation, only the CEO and president made that type of contribution to J.C. Penney during Tony’s tenure.”
McKeever called Kirsimagi “a true gentleman in business and in life.” He is survived by his wife, Carol, son John and daughter Suzanne.
The service is scheduled here for Saturday, July 25, at 10 a.m. at the Estonian Lutheran Church at 607 East 7 Street. The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to this church or the United Way of Ocean County in Toms River, N.J.