Frank Sarris or, the “Candy Man,” a fitting moniker for a man that made a life of taking each sunrise and covering it with chocolate and a miracle or two, passed away on March 1, 2010.
As a self-made man, Mr. Sarris could be found early in the morning, seven days a week, greeting employees as they arrived and meeting customers. The main factory and showroom in Canonsburg have become not only a major business endeavor, employing more than 350 employees, but also a popular stop for visitors to buy Sarris Chocolates, see the famous chocolate castle and perhaps stop in the famous Sarris Ice Cream Parlour for homemade treats.
As an entrepreneur, Frank Sarris was named Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year in 2001 by the Pittsburgh Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration and named one of the nation's top four small-businesspeople at a White House ceremony attended by President George W. Bush. Mr. Sarris and his family also became known for their charitable contributions over the years, supporting many causes such as University of Pittsburgh programs, including the University of Pittsburgh's Library Fund, the Athletics Department and the Panther Club Athletic Scholarship Fund. Following his kidney transplant in 2002, Mr. Sarris participated in many organ donor awareness events and made a generous donation to the Thomas E. Starzl Legacy Endowment that underwrites basic science research at the transplantation institute. In 2006, the family opened the doors of the Frank Sarris Outpatient Clinic, which provides pre- and post-surgical care to transplant patients.
Mr. and Mrs. Sarris' philanthropic endeavors extend further to the local community including the Washington County Humane Society, Washington County 4-H, the Canonsburg 4th of July parade, the National Kidney Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, Animal Friends, the recently named Frank Sarris Public Library in Canonsburg and the many school and social groups supported with numerous donations, tuitions and foundations. In addition, to honor the late Mr. Sarris for his contributions as a trustee and benefactor, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens aptly named a new hybrid candy-striped orchid after him, The Phalaenopsis 'Frank Sarris' Orchid, the Orchid being the world’s most popular flower.
Mr. Sarris' Greek heritage and upbringing contributed to his dedication to his church and community. He was a member of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, Leadership 100 and All Saints Greek Orthodox Church. He received the highest layman recognition in 2002 with an appointment as an Archon of Ecumenical Patriarchate. Other honors included Washington County Philanthropist of the Year in 2003 and Washington & Jefferson College Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002. He also was nominated for the Retail Confectioners International and National Confectioners Association Candy Industry's Kettle Award.
Frank was a person of great moral character, intellect, wisdom and professionalism, as evidenced by his contributions to the local community, and his gentle nature, caring ways and great sense of humor will be forever cherished by the lives he touched. Ever grateful for his success and good fortune, Frank will be missed by all who knew that all of his dedication and love was behind every piece of candy they enjoyed. This love has made an impression that will continue to make the world taste good for years to come.