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Private funeral services were held Monday in St. Leo the Great Church, Amherst, for Peter F. Di-Stefano, 95, a retired banker who was active in Italian-American organizations.

He died Feb. 2, 2001, in his Amherst home. Burial was in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Cheektowaga.

After graduating from South Park High School in 1923, he began his banking career with Peoples Bank, which was later bought by Manufacturers and Traders Trust Co. He retired as an assistant vice president of M&T in 1970 after spending his entire career at the Niagara Street branch.

DiStefano was president of the Federation of Italian-American Societies for 14 years, after which he held several other offices. He also was chairman of the Committee for Italian Migration and successfully lobbied in Washington for this and many other causes. For that work he was awarded the Star of Solidarity by the Italian government in 1960.

He was instrumental in the erection of a monument to Christopher Columbus, which stands in the City of Buffalo. He also was responsible for establishing a program on WWOL radio for the Italian Boys Clubs.

DiStefano was active in many other organizations, including the Committee for Flood Victims in Italy, Committee for Italian Arts and Sciences, Buffalo Parking Board, Buffalo Zoo Board, Urban Renewal Agency, United Way, Buffalo Chamber of Commerce and the Montemaggiorese Club.

Survivors include his wife of 69 years, the former Pauline Ferington; a daughter, Carol Knerr of Williamsville; a son, Thomas of Amherst; and a sister, Josephine Longo of Amherst.


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