Born in 1936, Attilio Miele moved to Worthing aged 18 after the destruction of his home town in Italy in the Second World War.
He died at home earlier this month aged 81 after a four-year battle with cancer.
The town of Monte Cassino, where Attilio was born, was the site of a famous battle which left much of it in ruins.
As a result, Attilio – like many other young Italians – travelled to England and settled in Worthing.
Working at nurseries in the town, Attilio saved up to buy the Rendezvous Cafe with his brother Roberto, and later the Dome Bingo Hall.
His daughter Mary, 52, said: “He was such a good-hearted and kind man.
“He never argued with anyone.”
Attilio married his wife Nicolina in Italy in 1963, and had three children: Anthony, Mary, and Eddie, and five grandchildren.
Every summer he returned to Monte Cassino, where he helped fund the restoration of his family home.
Mary said: “The first thought was always of making his parents comfortable.”
Attilio became well-known in Worthing, especially for his prize-winning icecream.
Mary said: “He was very grateful to England because he had great success there.
“He gave his heart to the people, did everything to please everyone.”
As well as running his businesses, Attilio had such a passion for racing that he bought his own race horse.
Named Nicolina after his wife, Attilio’s horse even raced against one of the Queen’s horses at Goodwood.
The reactions of those who knew him to his death have been shock and sadness, Mary said.
She added: “They are very shocked and very, very upset.
“They keep saying: ‘he shouldn’t have gone so soon because he was so good’.”
Attilio’s funeral takes place in Italy tomorrow.