Celebrating the life of Eddie BashaPosted: Updated:
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Thousands of people filled ASU Gammage Theater to remember a man described as "larger than life."
So it was fitting for friends and family to share stories about how Eddie Basha changed the lives of so many with his passion for people.
"When Eddie traveled the floors, he showed nothing but respect for his employees," Dan Cracchiolo said of the late grocery chain magnate. "He was always Eddie to them."
The two met more than 50 years ago and were very close friends.
But Eddie didn't just run grocery stores in Arizona. He was a champion for people, for children, for equality.
"He was self made but he was selfless," one friend said.
While another shared, "I can say with absolute sincerity, I have never met a finer human being than Eddie Basha. He truly was God's A-game."
Eddie took over the Basha Stores at the age of 31, when his father passed away.
Friends say he grew the company to what it is today with lots of help and support, but also because he led with his heart and a sense of community.
Throughout the memorial service, many talked about Eddie's unique sense of humor.
"My younger brother David was born, my dad told him his three older siblings were adopted. This is a true story," Trey Basha shared.
"He was a man of 10,000 practical jokes, but more than 10,000,000 random acts of kindness," Art Hamilton said.
Eddie's proudest achievement was his family. He leaves behind his wife Nadine, six sons and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The entire Basha family came up on stage at the end of the service.
Eldest grandson, Brandon Basha, brought hand-me-down boots Eddie gave to him when he was a kid.
Holding back tears he vowed, "One day, I hope to fill these boots. Not physically, but fill them up like my Grandpa did, by serving those who I meet and pass that on to my kids, for his legacy of service is the greatest gift he gave to me."
Eddie Basha was a great gift to Arizona. You will be missed by so many.