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Michael A. Accordino, WWII vet, phys ed teacher ; Jan. 29, 1924 -- June 19, 2012

Michael A. Accordino, a decorated World War II veteran and former Buffalo Public Schools teacher, died Tuesday after a short illness in Hospice care. He was 88.

Mr. Accordino, of the Town of Tonawanda, graduated from Buffalo's McKinley High School and the University of Buffalo. He was an elementary physical education teacher for Buffalo Public Schools from 1965 to 1985.

He served in the 299th Combat Engineer Battalion in World War II and earned the Purple Heart and five battle stars.

At age 20, Mr. Accordino landed in the first wave with Company A on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion. His mission was to blow 50-yard gaps in obstacles placed by the Germans. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge and in the capture of the Bridge at Remagen.

Mr. Accordino attended annual 299th Army Corps of Engineers reunions, and in 2006 he led the effort to have 22 miles of the Niagara Thruway dedicated as the "299th Combat Engineer Battalion Memorial Highway." He also was a member of Kenmore Council, Knights of Columbus; Veterans of Foreign Wars; American Legion; and the Loyal Order of Moose.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, the former Mary Alaimo; two sons, Michael and Sam; and two daughters, Virginia Grassia and Joan.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m Friday in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1085 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda.