Silver Bay, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A beloved Silver Bay community member, and owner of Zups Grocery, Bernie Zupancich has died.
"He knew hundreds of people and they are very sad to hear the news," Kathy Soderstrom, a friend said.
Most people in Silver Bay knew Bernie Zupancich.
"He would do anything for anybody at any time,” Wade LeBlanc, a friend said. “He was just a good, good man."
With family by his side, he died of a stroke at the age of 71.
"He died peacefully, he was in little to no pain," Brian Zupancich, Bernie’s son said.
Zupancich owned and operated the towns Zup's grocery store since the 1960s.
"Any of us should be as hard a worker as Bernie was," Mayor Scott Johnson said.
"He would walk around faster, doing stuff than any of us," Zupancich said.
"He greeted everybody with a smile,” Soderstrom said. “The little kids, he just always patted kids on the head, and said hello. Babies loved him, babies would just smile when he talked to them. He would always ask them if they were ready to eat steak."
Aside from a great work ethic, many say they will remember him for his generosity.
"He was probably one of the most giving people I have ever known,” Johnson said.
"Maybe they lost their job, maybe someone got divorced or had bad luck in life, he'd show up with a few sacks of groceries,” Zupancich said. “If they refused, it wasn't an option, ‘you will take this please, I would be insulted if you didn't.’"
"He probably gave to, and either donated time and or efforts to almost every cause in town," Johnson said.
"There wasn't a single person, or a single event that Bernie wasn't part of," LaBlanc said.
A man that made a difference, who's legacy will continue in the lives of those that knew him.
“Nobody will be able to replace him, it's a devastating blow to town,” LaBlanc said.
“He is missed, there is not a will be, he is missed,” Soderstrom said.
The public is welcome to attend Bernie's funeral this Saturday.
It will be at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary's Church in Silver Bay.