Feb. 26, 1928 – Nov. 4, 2017
For more than 25 years, whenever George Richard Costanza mentioned who he was, he got attention.
The retired construction worker from Amherst shared a name with a character on the TV sitcom, “Seinfeld.” He was pictured in the New York Post in 2015 along with an article about people with the same names as fictional people on television.
“For years,” the article noted, “teenage girls prank-called the Costanza home ... claiming to be Elaine (another ‘Seinfeld’ character). A pizza shop refused to make a delivery order because workers thought they were being ‘Punk’d’.”
The story noted, "If the retired construction worker, 87, got to pick, he’d rather share his name with Jerry Seinfeld. 'He seems to be the smartest,' Constanza said."
Mr. Costanza died Saturday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital after a short illness. He was 89.
“Accompanying our dad to various appointments proved to be very interesting as giggles and laughter would erupt at the mere mention of his name,” his daughter Susan said. “My father loved the attention. He would say he had it first. Fortunately, he was much nicer than the fictional character. He had a great sense of humor.”
Born in Buffalo, Mr. Costanza grew up in the city’s Pine Hill neighborhood and graduated from Seneca Vocational High School.
He operated a construction business, building homes primarily in Cheektowaga and Lancaster until about 1960, then became a member of Bricklayers Local 45.
He worked on both the University at Buffalo campuses; the Boulevard, Eastern Hills and Galleria malls; several local hospitals; and the Buffalo light rail project. He retired in 1993.
He would drive his children around on Sunday mornings to look at the sites where he had been working.
“It was always fun to see the progress of each construction job,” his son Richard said. “Even today, as we drive by those same places, we are reminded of his hard work.”
He enjoyed cooking and helping on home projects.
“Creating a home with a warm and welcoming environment was very important to him and we are reminded of that every time we look around our homes,” his son Richard said. “He was always behind every home project, lending his guidance and expertise even if he was no longer able to do the work himself.”
“I look at the fireplace,” his daughter said, “and I just see my dad.”
Devoted to his family, his son recalled how his father once drove through a blinding snowstorm to a distant toy store to buy a then-popular item, a robot called the Great Garloo, as a surprise Christmas gift.
In addition to his son and daughter, survivors include his wife of 60 years, the former Mary Ann Herr; another son, Dr. Mark; a sister, Gloria Iacucci; and three grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 in SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 5480 Main St., Williamsville.