Nina was born in New York City on February 28, 1914 to her mother Silvia Petrini and her father, Foscolo Petrini. She was educated and lived in NYC where she married Claude Focardi in 1940. They remained in NYC for 8 years where Mr. Focardi worked for Anheuser-Busch. Mr. and Mrs. Focardi moved to Chicago in 1948 due to Mr. Focardi’s work and in 1950 moved to St. Louis, MO where they lived and Mr. Focardi continued to work for Anheuser-Busch until 1968.
In 1968 she and her husband Claude moved to St. Petersburg where, together, they began a business called Great Bay Distributors, Inc., an Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship for Pinellas and western Pasco Counties. They worked together and grew the business until Mr. Focardi’s death in 2002. Nina continued to work at the distributorship as Chairwoman of the Board. She continued working everyday until November of 2017. Under her direction, Great Bay acquired Hernando and Citrus Counties and has grown to be the largest Anheuser-Busch wholesaler in the State of Florida. She worked at the business with her daughter, son and three grandchildren and saw Great Bay become the largest woman owned business in this area of the state.
Besides working at Great Bay, she was very involved with the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg along with other charitable endeavors.
She is survived by her two children, Claudia (Robert) Sokolowski and Ronald (Judy) Petrini; grandchildren Jennifer (Jeffrey) Lovelady of St. Petersburg; Douglas (JoEllen) Sokolowski of Treasure Island; Matthew (Jennifer) Sokolowski of Seminole, John (Lindsey) Petrini of Atlanta, GA, Bryan Hess of Atlanta, GA, Tyler Hess of Atlanta, GA, 10 great-grandchildren, her wonderful caregiver and friend of 35 years, Maria Rodriguez of St. Petersburg and many family and friends from here and around the country. She will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to be part of a life that spanned almost 104 years.
Donations in her name can be made to the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg or Southeast Guide Dogs. A celebration of her life will be held at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg on Sunday, February 11, 2018 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.