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Cosmo P. 'Gus' Broncato, longtime orchestra leader ; May 31, 1923 -- Jan. 27, 2011

Cosmo P. "Gus" Broncato of Wheatfield, leader of the Gus Broncato Orchestra, died Thursday in Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Buffalo. He was 87.

Raised in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Grover Cleveland High School, where he developed his early interest in music, playing the saxophone in the band. During World War II, Mr. Broncato served stateside in the Army.

After his service in the military, Mr. Broncato operated his own dry-cleaning business, Lincoln Cleaners, on Buffalo's West Side. In the 1970s, he was a salesman for DeBragga & Spitler, a meat supplier in New York City, a job he held for many years while he also led his orchestra.

For more than 60 years, the Gus Broncato Orchestra performed at weddings, country clubs and other venues, including the annual Mother's Day brunch at the Hearthstone Manor in Depew. The orchestra also performed in Florida and played alongside numerous celebrities, including Stevie Wonder and Andy Williams, and once performed for President Jimmy Carter.

He was the widower of Rose C. Mancino Broncato, his wife of 62 years.

Survivors include two daughters, Shirley M. Pennario and Jean M. Schroeder.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today in St. Stephen Catholic Church, 2100 Baseline Road, Grand Island.

[MCNEIL]

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