CROWLEY, La. (AP) - Funeral services are scheduled Friday for John Dan Gielen, who built the Shop Rite and Tobacco Plus stores into a Louisiana empire.
Geesey-Ferguson Funeral Home confirmed that Gielen, of Crowley, died Wednesday at his home after a long fight against Parkinson's disease. He was 79.
Gielen founded Shop Rite in 1966 and Tobacco Plus in 1993. He also owns Church Point Wholesale, which supplies products to convenience stores in six states. The companies employ about 1,000 workers.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Crowley. Gielen is survived by his wife of 59 years, Peggy Angelle Gielen, as well as four daughters and 20 grandchildren.