Ronald A. Carnevale, West Side business booster, co-founded Italian festival - The Buffalo News
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Ronald A. Carnevale, West Side business booster, co-founded Italian festival

Nov. 13, 1942 – Nov. 28, 2013

Ronald A. Carnevale, president of the West Side Business and Taxpayers Association, died Thursday. He was 71.

Mr. Carnevale was born and raised on the city’s West Side.

He graduated from Lafayette High School and Canisius College. He retired from the City of Buffalo in 2001 after serving as director of water under Mayor James Griffin and director of inventory and stores under Mayor Anthony Masiello.

After retiring from the city, he was appointed assistant deputy commissioner of highways in the Erie County Department of Public Works.

Mr. Carnevale served 13 consecutive terms as president of the West Side Business and Taxpayers Association, which rewarded him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Under his leadership, the association raised more than $500,000 for projects and community functions, including awards to McKinley High School students and Buffalo State College events. The association also gave away thousands of toys through its annual Toys for Tots Santa Claus Parade.

In 1983, he instituted a Christmas Eve Toy and Food Drop Off to families in need, visiting each house by horse and wagon with Santa and elves.

Mr. Carnevale was a co-founder of the Sorrento Cheese Italian Heritage and Food Festival, a popular annual event along Hertel Avenue.

One of his hobbies, singing, blossomed into another career in 1998 when he formed the Buffalo Rat Pack singing group. The Las Vegas-style lounge act performed every year at the Italian Festival, as well as at weddings, nightclubs and parties.

Mr. Carnevale also served as a board member and six years as treasurer of the International Marketplace, an organization formed to assist with the revitalization of the Grant-Ferry neighborhood, and six years as a mayoral appointee to the Buffalo Water Board.

He was a member of the Bi-National Civic Advisory Committee for the Peace Bridge expansion project. Other memberships included the Peace Bridge Public Consensus Review Panel, Peace Bridge Advisory Committee and the Technical Advisory Committee to the Peace Bridge Authority, the Citizens Advisory Group to the Buffalo Police Commissioner, the LaSalle Park Steering Committee, the board of the Buffalo State College Under Age Drinking Grant Committee, and the board of Columbus Hospital West Side Medical Center Professional Advisory Council.

He was director of the Buffalo Area Merchants Association and event chairman of the executive committee of Winterfest II.

In 1989, Mr. Carnevale also played a large role in development of the Asarese-Matters Community Center, which serves youths on the West Side.

Survivors include a brother, Robert; and a sister, Pamela Huber.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Holy Cross Church, 345 Seventh St., following prayers at 8:30 a.m. in Greco Funeral Home, 2909 Elmwood Ave.

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