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Former Daystrom president dies at age 93 following illness

Only months after his last visit to South Boston, former Daystrom Furniture President Francis (Fran) Anthony Piechota passed away Monday, Jan. 28, surrounded by family members after a long period of illness.

He was 93.

Piechota, whose health was failing at the time, returned to South Boston in April for Daystrom Furniture’s 50th reunion held at Edmunds Park. There he greeted several hundred former employees, spouses and family members.

On that chilly April day, Piechota greeted attendees and gave them a brief synopsis of how Daystrom got its start in South Boston.

“Some people thought we were a brewery coming in, and people didn’t want a brewery coming,” quipped Piechota.

“South Boston was head over heels better than the other three communities…We had good production, good sales and good profit. Thank you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he added.

Aubrey Duffer, who chaired the committee organizing the reunion and a dedicated Daystrom employee from the day they opened their doors until the day they closed, said, “Everyone worked well together. We had a lot of parties, and we did plant tours for spouses, kids and employees, and they really liked that.”

He learned of the former president’s passing early Tuesday morning.

“He was a fine gentleman. He was part of everything we did,” said Duffer.

Piechota served as president of the local furniture company for a number of years. Daystrom had a company in California and a company in South Boston, and Piechota was president of both for several years.

“It never slowed him down,” Duffer recalled. “He was a lot of fun to be around. He was just one of the guys. He was one of the regular guys. We went on trips, fishing trips, everything. He was a part of everything we did,” he added.

Piechota was a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Navy from 1941 to 1946. 

Following his departure from the service, he returned to his hometown of Olean, N.Y., attended St. Boneventure University and began his career with Daystrom Furniture, a high style kitchen dinette manufacture. 

In 1962, he was chosen by the parent company to bring Daystrom Furniture to South Boston where he held the positions controller, general manager and ended as president of Daystrom and two other sister companies for 18 years. He retired in 1978.

Funeral services for Piechota will be held at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at Eureka Presbyterian Church on Farm Life School Road, Carthage, N.C. 

Friends are invited to visit with the family following the service in the church fellowship hall. Light refreshments will be served by the Women of Eureka Presbyterian Church. Interment will follow at Pinelawn Memorial Park, Morgantown Road, Southern Pines.