Phil Carollo, president of Chicago, Illinois, supplier Lion Circle Corp. (PPAI 112372), passed away September 8. He was 77.

After serving in the U.S. Army, Carollo entered the promotional products industry in 1963 with Lion Match Corporation of America. Working his way through a variety of positions, including shipping clerk, salesman, sales manager, COO and vice president, he offered to purchase the company in 1975 when the owner retired.

The Lion Circle team issued the following statement: “Phil was an innovator in the industry and would take this match company to new heights, and then reinvent the company with hand fans and so much more as the times changed. He believed in a quality product, at a fair price, which was evident by winning the Counselor Supplier of the Year in the Fan category numerous times. He was constantly adding new products and buying new companies to remain relevant in the Promotional Product Industry.

“Phil was an eternal optimist, unpretentious and generous with everyone. He always wanted to be part of the action. He cared about all of his employees and could always be found working with them on the line, listening to their stories and congratulating them on a job well done.”

In 2014, the most recent year Counselor recognized Carollo and Lion Circle, he said, “The best part of the business is having all my children working with me. I’ve watched them all grow in different directions, but each of them has something to contribute to the business that’s been such a significant part of my life.”

Carollo is survived by his wife of 52 years, Therese; their children Jay, Jack, Jo-Ann and Rich, and their spouses; and seven grandchildren. His children will continue to run the day-to-day operations of Lion Circle, with Rich taking over the role of president.

A wake was held for Carollo today at Lawn Funeral Home in Burbank, Illinois. Funeral services are Wednesday at Incarnation Church in Palos Heights.