GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — As president of the Amway Hotel Corp. for the past 25 years, Joe Tomaselli has become emblematic of Grand Rapids' hospitality.
But he has never made Grand Rapids his hometown.
For the past 25 years, Tomaselli has stayed in a room at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel while Patty, his wife of 42 years, continued to live at their home in suburban St. Louis.
Tomaselli, a "die-hard Cardinals fan," said he commutes to his hometown several times a month and intends to return there when he retires after Dec. 31.
The decision to stay in St. Louis began when his son and daughter were in high school during the early years, he said. When they went to the University of Missouri, the family decided to stay in St. Louis and now there are grandchildren to spend time with.
Once he leaves the hotel and Grand Rapids behind, Tomaselli said he expects to have longings for the community that has adopted him.
"Doing it this long has been tough," he said. "I think it wouldn't have been tough if I didn't love this hotel and this community."
"The last 25 years have been for me the greatest that any hotel man could have ever imagined and are much more than any hotel man could have realized."
Now that he's leaving the hotel business and plans to retire, Tomaselli said he intends to come back for visits.
"I've actually thought about buying a place here," he said.