Dec. 24, 1918 – Nov. 27, 2016
Angelo J. “Toots” Dintino, of Buffalo, an insurance salesman and bandleader, died Sunday in HighPointe on Michigan after a short illness. He was 97.
Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of East High School, where he was an All-High football player and a member of the baseball team, where he batted against legendary pitcher Warren Spahn.
He went on to attend Canisius College and played quarterback for the Freddie’s Donuts semi-pro football team from 1938 to 1940.
During World War II, he played saxophone and clarinet with the 10th Special Service Platoon in Europe, traveling with an Army Show Unit entertaining troops in forward rest areas.
Returning from service, Mr. Dintino became a sales representative for Metropolian Life Insurance, where he often was a member of the Million Dollar Sales Club. He later worked with Western Savings Bank Life Insurance and Goldome Life Insurance, retiring in 1980.
A former Town of Tonawanda resident, he had a long career as a musician, performing in all the leading local nightclubs in the 1940s and 1950s. He accompanied Jimmy Dorsey, Patti Page, Nat King Cole, Vic Damone, Jack Benny, Jerry Vale and Liberace. He also played in big bands led by Dave Cheskin, Harry Miller, Tone Carnevale, Earl Shire and Art Kubera.
He performed at Melody Fair, Memorial Auditorium for the Ice Follies and Ice Capades, Kleinhans Music Hall, the Ringling Brothers and Shriners circuses and at many local country clubs.
He played at Buffalo Bills games in the 1940s and again in the 1960s and 1970s. He also played music for the Buffalo Bisons in Offermann Stadium.
Later he organized the Toots Dintino Orchestra and played music for weddings, dances and parties until he was 93.
His wife of 66 years, the former Dorothy F. Strobel, died in 2007.
Survivors include two sons, Raymond and Ralph; 10 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in St. John Neumann Chapel at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1085 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda.