Rocco Curatolo worked in the casket-manufacturing business for more than 60 years before retiring five years ago at age 82.
During his career, Mr. Curatolo was able to meet many prominent people, including President Gerald R. Ford, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, prompting Mr. Curatolo's family to dub him "the official greeter of the funeral industry."
Mr. Curatolo died Thursday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 87.
Born in New York City, Mr. Curatolo received a full scholarship to New York University in 1937 but, because of early financial pressures, chose to accept a position with the Boyertown Casket Co., where he worked for 50 years, rising to the position of regional manager.
Mr. Curatolo went on to work an additional 15 years as a management consultant at both the Brooklyn Casket Co. and the Cutler Casket Co. in Buffalo before retiring in 2001. For the past 20 years, Mr. Curatolo also served as corporate treasurer of the Georgetown Capital Group in Williamsville.
During World War II, he served in the Army Air Forces and rose to the rank of master sergeant, serving as a personal assistant to a general while stationed in Stornaway, Scotland.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, the former Theresa Mattera; a daughter, Nanette Prins; and three sons, Anthony, Joseph and Michael.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 5480 Main St., Williamsville.