Zippy Mart Founder and Former NACS President Passes Away

Helow is remembered for his leadership and poignant speech.

Zippy Mart founder and owner George Helow, who served as 1977 NACS president, passed away on Jan. 17 at the age of 90, NACS reported.

Helow grew Zippy Mart Inc., to more than 350 locations in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

Helow’s took on the role of NACS president as the association was transitioning and growing its annual meeting. He became president at the 1976 annual meeting in Atlanta, the first meeting with a full-fledged expo and the first meeting to attract than 2,000 attendees, NACS reported. 

NACS noted that Helow’s president’s address, titled “Sweet Little Sixteen,” the following year was considered one of the best ever delivered at a NACS closing banquet. The name was apropos as NACS entered its 16th year, and George’s speech compared the maturation of the industry to that of a person, which was a prescient look at the industry’s future.

Helow is survived by his wife of 54 years, Margaret Ossi; son Joseph; daughters Mary Pritchard, Anne Darling, Diane Parker, Katherine Gilligan and Theresa Ryan; 47 grandchildren; 1 great-grandson, and many nieces, nephews, and extended family members. The family will receive friends on Friday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 9800 Baymeadows Road, Jacksonville, Fla. A Rosary and Vigil service will begin at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21 at 9:30 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church in Jacksonville. Interment will follow at Oaklawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Catholic Charities, 134 East Church Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 or the Diocese of St. Augustine, 11625 Old St. Augustine Road, Jacksonville, FL 32258. Arrangements are being handled by Corey-Kerlin Funeral Home, 940 Cesery Blvd., Jacksonville, FL (


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