John Fiore was sort of a one-man party, the way an old friend saw him.
Because Fiore, who lived in Ocean City and died recently at 80, had so much going on that knowing him felt more like knowing lots of different people.
“You could be with Bikeman, Insuranceman ... Triviaman, Radioman, Gasman ... Yardsaleman,” Dick Stover, of Glenside, Pa., and Ocean City, wrote a few years ago in a birthday tribute that Fiore’s family read again at John’s funeral June 30. And Stover had a dozen more alter-ego names for his friend of 30 years.
Fiore and his wife, Harriett, moved to Ocean City from Haddon Heights in 1991, after John retired from his main career. He was an insurance salesman, a Prudential agent for 32 years..
It was a big part of his life, so big, he actually met his wife of 50 years through an insurance deal. John, then a young widower — his wife died in a car accident, leaving two little girls, Kathy and Susan — made a sale in 1961 to a woman who obviously trusted her agent. Because after they did business, the customer introduced her daughter, Harriett, to the salesman.
“That led to dating and marriage” Harriett said — and two sons, Chris and Johnny.
When John retired and headed to the shore, he hooked up with Kelly Services, the temporary agency. That put him in all sorts of jobs, starting with an odd one.
“He was the original GasBuddy app,” his daughter, Kathy Miller, said, meaning GasBuddy.com, the online gasoline-price survey.
And going out and looking at gas-station prices around South Jersey’s shore was one of her dad’s favorite temp jobs, because it let him take an assistant along.
“We’d go all over. We had a list of place, and we checked gas prices. ... And it was great for us, because we got to know the area really well,” Harriett said. “It would take a few hours, and when we were done, we might end up at a mall. But it always involved breakfast somewhere.”
John stocked grocery-store shelves for a food-marketing company, and sold ads for a radio station. Then there was a job he gave himself. He would pick up old, thrown-away bicycles, take them home, fix them up and sell them — which is why he was Bikeman too.
But John liked to ride his own bike around his adopted hometown too, especially to find garage sales. He was a master at hunting down the right item at the right price — usually a fraction of the asking price, because he was a haggling man too.
“Oh man, he could spot stuff a mile away,” Stover said, admiringly — or maybe jealously.
And there was still more going on in John’s life, too much more to fit in here. People who knew him say he was just that kind of man — or a lot of men, all rolled up into one.
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