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Carmelo Anthony Privitera, former UB faculty member, scientist

May 12, 1923 – Dec. 11, 2016

Carmelo Anthony Privitera, a professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo and a research scientist, died Sunday in Albany after a short illness. He was 93.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Lafayette High School and studied for two years at Canisius College before enlisting in the Army during World War II. Fluent in Italian, French and German, he was an intelligence officer and gathered information during the liberation of Paris that helped root out pockets of Nazi resistance. He attained the rank of lieutenant.

Returning from service, he completed his bachelor’s degree in biology at Canisius, then went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he met his wife of 62 years, Bernadette, who was a research librarian at the university.

After teaching at St. Thomas College and the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, Minn., he earned his doctorate in biology from St. Louis University.

Dr. Privitera came to UB in 1965 and received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1982. He retired in 2000.

He did research in cell biology, specializing in depressed metabolism in animals such as pygmy mice and painted turtles. He also did research into muscular dystrophy in conjunction with one of his doctoral students, Michael Hudecki, who suffered from the disease and went on to become one of his colleagues in the UB Biology Department.

A devout Catholic, Dr. Privitera was a lector and Eucharistic minister. He was active for many years in the Newman Center at UB. After moving from Amherst to Albany in 2006, he founded the Catholic parish in Avila Retirement Community, where he lived.

He was an accomplished artist and created hundreds of hand-painted greeting cards for birthdays and holidays in watercolors and acrylics. He also was a woodcarver and crafted many canes and walking sticks with ornamental heads.

His wife died in 2011.

Survivors include three daughters, Christine, JoMarie and Celeste Freeman; two sons, John and Frank; a sister, Margaret Mancuso; 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in Historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 10 Lodge St., Albany.

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