The Lolli Family and business recently suffered a great loss with the passing of Colonel Frank Lolli this past January. Because his life represented many great achievements, including the creation of the current business known as Lolli Bros Livestock Market (once known simply as Lolli Sale Pavilion) - we have decided to continue adding to this web page as a tribute to him. This page is a work in progress - and we hope you will visit it again in the future as we add to it.
"Earning a Piece of the Pie" - A True Life Fairytale - by Josie Lolli, Grandson
Once upon a time…there was a very handsome and industrious Italian man whose parents immigrated to theUS shortly after the turn of the century and somehow landed in the coal mines ofBevier,MO.
This industrious Italian decided very early in life that he was well suited to various entrepreneur-ish challenges. With little more than an 8th grade education he taught himself many things that most of us only dream of attempting. Among his many talents - he was a self-taught and accomplished musician who "wow-ed" his way at many a pie supper & dance in the 40's, singing and playing guitar with his band called theMissouriRamblers.
I've been told that it was at one of those "pie suppers" that he was asked to take over the task of "auctioning the pies" on an evening when the regular auctioneer failed to show up. Since he was not the bashful type - and was always ready for a challenge - he gladly agreed. As the story goes - between his somewhat comical impromptu attempts at reproducing the auctioneer's chant (interspersed with a heavy Italian accent) his entertaining delivery resulted in the highest price ever paid for a pie inMaconCounty!!
Looking back, one can only wonder if that pie supper was the turning point that began his long and successful career as an Auctioneer - for it wasn't long before he had graduated from "pies" to pigs, and cattle. The business began to grow at such a pace that it eventually became necessary to build a small enclosure so folks could get in out of the elements on sale day.
He soon realized that selling hogs, cattle, sheep and chickens was far more profitable than selling pies. And just beyond the success of the livestock sales, the best was yet to come with the popularity of the Shetland Ponies that began their heyday in the 50's.
Not only was this little Italian industrious - he also had a keen knack of recognizing "trends". When the Shetland Ponies began their rise in popularity - he was right there in the thick of it having his own little pony sale. It wasn't much at first - just a few "smallish" ponies -- but the word spread and soon people were coming from all over the US to attend a Lolli Pony Sale. His self-taught talent as an auctioneer - and his charismatic personality on the auction block added up to instant fame in the pony business, and soon - when he wasn't conducting sales of his own - he was on the road traveling cross country to auctioneer for other sales.
He was a man of many accomplishments that ranged from auctioning the most expensive pie ever sold at a pie supper back in the 40's (baked by his future wife) to the record he holds for having auctioned the highest priced Shetland pony ever sold - "Supreme's Bit of Gold" - for $86,000.00 in 1958. Perhaps one of his more crowning achievements was when he sold 10 Shetland Pony's to the Queen of England.
Over the years it became necessary to add on here and there to create a bigger auction facility than what had been required in the early days when only hogs, cattle and ponies were sold. By the 1980's, other surprising and successful changes had also taken place and now when people attend a sale at Lolli's today they may have come to purchase more exotic creatures such as Zebra, Llama or Camels.
Today - right along Highway 63 in the city limits of Macon, MO stands a much newer and modern version of Lolli Brother Livestock Market Inc. It was first established in 1947 and is still going strong due to the original hardworking efforts of one little industrious Italian.
By now some of you may have guessed that the man that started it all back in the 1940's at a pie supper in Bevier is my grandfather, Frank Lolli. He has inspired me in many ways, and the story of his hard and determined road to success is one that most people only read about in books. He has certainly left his mark on me -- after all - how many kids have a grandpa whose career began with selling the highest priced pie in Macon County and went on to apply those skills towards the development of a business that is now one of the oldest and most successful family owned Livestock Markets in the United States.
His lifetime achievements are truly remarkable and reminds us all that with simple hard work and dedication - nothing is ever impossible and that we can all earn a piece of the pie!
Excerpts from the Eulogy of Nate Blackstun
As Frank Lolli's oldest grandchild I have seen my share of laughter, play, sadness and celebrations. If you are here with us today, no doubt you knew my Grandpa to be a strong man with a booming voice who could turn the head of every man, woman and child in a room. You also would recognize his belly laugh from three rooms away. Some of you could probably spend days telling stories of "what" and "how" ole' Frank Lolli did "it". You can never wrap up the life of a man so special in a 10 minute conversation, but what I would like to do is provide some insight from the eyes of a grandchild..........
My grandfather was an avid fan of many sports - especially the St Louis Cardinals - and would pass the summer days cheering for the Birds on the Bat. In his younger years Grandpa would travel the countryside playing ball against any competition available. They would walk or hitchhike several miles in search of a game, that would end with his band usually playing well into the night...... rumors abound that grandpa was such a good baseball player that he was invited to the Cardinals training camp and was very close to making the team before WW II put a halt on his dream. As a kid I always imagined "Frank Lolli" in the same lineup of Stan theMan. Some of my fondest memories of my grandpa include baseball. I don't think he ever missed a game that any of his boys played in, and I know he never missed a game that I played in…
In 1947 grandpa started a livestock market where patrons could come to sell their cattle, ponies, horses, and any type of equipment imaginable. Through a lot of hard work, time lost with family and dedication, this business grew to be one of the most prominent in North Missouri, soon to be theUnited States. Over the years the business has grown to include gun sales, western sales, exotic animals, and just about anything you can imagine. In 1997 Grandpa was able to celebrate 50 years of success for his family and the community which he helped grow. How many self-made businessmen can enjoy that kind of success? And what a fantastic place for a kid to grow up.. dirt, mud, straw, hay, every animal you can imagine, tractors, tools, old men drinking coffee and playing gin in the café. The place was never as welcoming as when Grandpa was sitting at the round table drinking coffee, and waiting to start up the next great conversation. The Sale Barn was home for my family. It is where we have celebrated holidays, weddings, super bowls, card parties, oh yeah... and conducted almost 60 years of business. You can't think of the Lolli Livestock market inMacon Missouri without thinking of Frank Lolli, and you can't think of Frank Lolli without thinking of Lolli Livestock market… and that's how it should be.......
Grandpa was part of the greatest generation. He served his country during W.W.II, and helped demonstrate what an American male in the 20thcentury was supposed to be. A hard working man, with strong morals and commitment to family and country. His generation had a strong Faith, and Grandpa was no exception to that......... I can't remember a Saturday night or Sunday morning where I wouldn't find Grandpa in church, making his offering through prayer, and song...... .....and boy did he love to sing! Music was as much a part of my Grandpa's life as the Cardinals or the Sale Barn. As a younger man grandpa played with his brother Uncle Tony in a band called the Missouri Ramblers. They would travel around the area playing for parties and weddings and having the time of their lives. My grandma would say his voice was so grand, when the wind was blowing just right in Keota, she could hear him sing from miles away. Grandpa has passed his talents and love for music to almost everyone in the family.........
Of my many memories of Grandpa - here are just a few that remind me most of him.… I remember a man with a love for life, for hunting birds all day with his beloved bird dogs and then eating the prize that night -- a healthy Italian dinner of Quail and Polenta, I remember Sunday evenings at Uncle Tony's where hours would pass with stories told over a snack of Tuna and Onions. There was East Fork Ranch, where the stories I heard would make a Bonanza TV show boring. During the fall you could always see the prize deer in the county hanging from the old tree out in front of his house -- not only displaying his trophy, but also that of his sons and grandchildren. He loved to golf, he always had one leg hanging out of his golf cart, and he provided his grandson with a unique ability to never lose a golf ball. He sold 10 Shetland ponies to the Queen of England, and the highest priced Shetland Pony of his time -- Supreme Bit of Gold for $86,000 in the late 1950's at an auction.
Not bad for a man with an 8th grade education.
............I have done my best not to embellish any of my memories about my grandpa, but I think even if I had, grandpa would have liked it better that way. Frank Lolli was a man of the world and everyone who crossed his path was a friend. We all have our own personal memories of this great man. Some will talk about his quirks, some his adventures, some about the business he started so long ago, but to me he will always be, just grandpa.