BIRMINGHAM, AL -- Razelle Toranto, who was part of coin-op's greatest generation, died on Feb. 19. She was 80.
Razelle was a tireless volunteer at many organizations in Birmingham, including Hadassah (the Women's Zionist Organization of America) and the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El.
Razelle was also the daughter of Max and Bek Hurvich. Max and his brother Harry Hurvich began Birmingham Vending Co. by operating machines that dispensed peanuts for 1¢. Known in the vending trade as the "Gold Dust Twins" (both for their reddish-gold hair and their so-called Midas touch), the brothers ran their business in their basements, with the help of their wives, when they got started in 1931, a year before Razelle was born.
The Hurviches eventually moved out of the basement, added music and games to their vending route, and later became equipment resellers. The distributorship sold vending machines, coin-op games and jukeboxes to operators in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Razelle's husband, Albert Toranto, became sales manager of Birmingham Vending in the mid-1960s and eventually took over the business. Today, their son Steve Toranto runs Birmingham Vending as an amusement and music vending operation serving Alabama, Florida and Tennessee. The company also has a robust online equipment marketplace at bhmvending.com.
"She loved life, travel, her husband, children and grandchildren, and she will be missed dearly by those who loved her," Steve Toranto said. Razelle and Albert were married for 48 years before he died in 2000.
In addition to Steve, Razelle is survived by Steve's wife Melanie Toranto, son Barry Toranto and his wife Eva Shoshany, daughter Vicki Spiegelman and her husband Jerry, sister Marion Goodstein and her husband Joe, brother Rico Hurvich and five grandchildren.