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Cosmo “Corky” J. Fratello, leader in opththalmic field

March 29, 1926 – Aug. 29, 2015

Cosmo “Corky” J. Fratello of the Town of Niagara, a leader in the ophthalmic field, died Saturday at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston. He was 89.

Mr. Fratello attended local schools and graduated from the former St. Mary’s High School in 1944.

He then served in the Army Air Forces until his honorable discharge in 1946.

Mr. Fratello earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in vocational technical education from Buffalo State College.

He was a professor and the head of the Ophthalmic Dispensing curriculum at Erie Community College. As a New York State licensed ophthalmic dispenser and contact lens practitioner, Mr. Fratello was a dispenser for several companies throughout Western New York. In 1995, he also co-authored the Dictionary of Ophthalmic Optics, which he published along with Arthur H. Keeney and Robert E. Hagman.

In 2007, in recognition of his achievements in teaching and business, Mr. Fratello was presented the Joseph Bruneni Memorial Education Achievement Award, formerly the “Educator of the Year Award” in Las Vegas.

He was a member of the NYS Society of Opticians, Contact Lens Society of WNY and the NYS Board for Ophthalmic Dispensing, where he served two terms as president.

He also served on the NYS Board of Ophthalmic Licensing committee for 10 years as an auxiliary consultant who participated in the semi-annual exams for opticians and was an extended board member who oversaw disciplinary issues throughout the profession.

A longtime member of the Niagara County Sportsman Club, the LaSalle Sportsman Club, patron of the NRA and a former president and member of the Town of Niagara Lions Club, Mr. Fratello belonged to the HAM Radio Club and was an amateur radio operator of KD2BBY.

For several years, Mr. Fratello served on the Town of Niagara Zoning Board of Appeals.

A devout Catholic, he was a longtime member of St. Vincent DePaul Parish at St. Leo’s Church in Niagara Falls, where he served as a minister and lector.

His wife of 62 years, the former Josephine “Jo” L. Steinback, predeceased him in 2011.

Surviving are three sons, Joseph, Alfred and David; two daughters, Susan McCoy and Mary Milleville; and a sister, Joan.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Vincent DePaul Parish at St. Leo’s Church, 2748 Military Rd., Niagara Falls.

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