Manlius loses village patriot

Alfred Audi, a prominent, well-respected Fayetteville resident and leading figure in business, died Saturday Sept. 29 after a long battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.

Audi owned and presided over Manlius-based Stickley Furniture for more than 30 years. He, along with his wife Aminy, raised the company to new heights. When he purchased Stickley in 1974, his challenge began with a staff of 22 people in a small, outdated factory. Since then, the company expanded internationally and now employs nearly 1,600 people whom the Audis consider "extended family."

Manlius Village Mayor Rick Penhall described Audi as a village patriot who reclaimed a dying operation to the village.

"He did a lot to put Manlius on the map," he said.

Mayor Mark Olson of Fayetteville remembers Audi's entrepreneurial spirit.

"When I think about Mr. Audi, I think about his vision and passion for Stickley Furniture," Olson said. "The museum at the Fayetteville Free Library (FFL) will forever tell the story of this incredible company and it says volumes about Mr. and Mrs. Audi and their passion for not only Stickley, but the entire community."

The Stickley Museum opened at the FFL earlier this year. The library at 300 Orchard St. was once the furniture factory until a fire in the 1980s forced the company to move to its present location in Manlius.

Audi attributed the company's continued existence to local firefighters who prevented the building from burning down entirely. He acknowledged their efforts with a personal thank you at the April 11 museum grand opening.

"Without them, we would not be here today," he said.

The community library purchased the former factory in 2003 and moved in after the first of multiple renovations.

"The Fayetteville Free Library will always be grateful to Mr. Audi and his family for working with us to acquire a new home for the library," said Sue Considine, FFL executive director. "We are reminded as an organization and as a community each and every day as we utilize our extraordinary library of the rich history and the enormous impact of Stickley furniture in our community and beyond. We are truly grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Audi for their foresight and generous community spirit."

"It's a sad day in the town of Manlius," said Manlius Town Supervisor Hank Chapman, who knew Audi for more than 20 years. "He will be sorely missed."

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