University at Buffalo Professor Emeritus Louis A. DelCotto Sr. died Saturday after a lengthy illness. He was 81.
Born in San Pio, Italy, he was raised in Buffalo from the age of 3. He attended UB for undergraduate studies and graduated cum laude from the UB Law School in 1951.
He specialized in tax matters as a partner in the law firm of Jaeckle, Fleischmann, Kelly, Swart and Augspurger. In 1960, Columbia University awarded him the Ford Foundation Fellowship for continued graduate studies to become a law professor. In 1961, he received his master of law degree from Columbia and became a professor of law at UB.
In 1981, he joined the Buffalo law firm of Kavinoky and Cook as tax counsel.
Considered a top tax authority in New York state, he was expert in the intricacies of the tax code, statutes and regulations. As a nationally respected scholar, Mr. DelCotto was author of many articles, including collaborator on the Bittker Federal Income Estate and Gift Taxation treatise. He was former counsel to the New York State Commission of Estates, had served on the New York State Society for Certified Public Accountants, the New York University/Internal Revenue Service Board of Advisors, and a host of other tax panels and institutes.
As a leading professor, Mr. DelCotto was instrumental in extensively shaping and defining the tax curriculum at the law school for more than 40 years.
In 2004, seven of Mr. DelCotto's former students established an endowment fund -- the Louis A. DelCotto Fund for Excellence in Tax and Tax-Related Studies at the UB Law School -- and contributed $75,000 in gifts and pledges to honor the man who gave them the foundation for their own successful careers in tax practice.
"Professor DelCotto was pivotal in my life and the lives of so many other successful UB Law School graduates," Dianne Bennett of Hodgson Russ told the law school newsletter last year. "He helped launched the careers of his former students, many of whom have gained prominence and stature in the legal profession and assumed leadership roles in their communities."
Throughout his 45-year career, he received awards. They included the Law School Alumni Association Public Service Award, the Buffalo Law Review Award and the Jaeckle Award for significant contributions to the law school and legal profession.
In addition to a career in law, he was an accomplished musician on the classical and jazz guitar, piano and mandolin. He enjoyed playing tennis and golf.
Mr. DelCotto is survived by his wife of 58 years, Josephine "Bea" Todoro DelCotto; a son, Louis A. of Clarence; a sister, Elda DelCotto Bagar of Williamsville; two grandsons; and a great-granddaughter.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 100 St. Gregory Court, Williamsville. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheektowaga.