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Salvatore S. Acquisto, retired teacher and musician; May 2, 1940 -- March 14, 2011

Salvatore S. Acquisto, of Williamsville, a retired teacher and musician, died Monday in Roswell Park Cancer Institute. A cancer survivor for 20 years, he was 70.

Born in Pittston, Pa., he came to Buffalo with his family when he was 5 and was a 1958 graduate of Hutchinson-Central Technical High School.

He earned an associate's degree from Erie County Technical Institute in 1960, a bachelor's degree from Buffalo State College in 1963 and a master's degree from Buffalo State in 1970, followed by advanced graduate studies.

Mr. Acquisto taught mathematics at Seneca Vocational High School for 35 years and was Buffalo Teachers Federation representative for the Building Committee.

In retirement, he worked in the education department at WNED-TV, helping select educational films for schools. He also worked for the Town of Amherst in the records department, the Town Clerk's Office and the Senior Center, where he taught guitar until November.

He also taught math in night school at Republic Steel and Bennett High School. For many years, he also was a driver education instructor.

An accomplished guitarist, Mr. Acquisto played in many groups and for local theaters. He met his wife of 46 years, the former Michelle "Shelley" Ruch, at Fantasy Island, where she was a cast member in a show and he played in the orchestra.

He directed the Contemporary Music Group at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church for 38 years and wrote liturgical music. He also taught guitar privately at home. He mentored hundreds of young people in school, in church and through his musical activities.

He and his wife served as proctors for the state Teachers Exam and were volunteers at St. Luke's Mission of Mercy.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Dr. Christopher and Daniel, and a sister, Patricia Muir.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Saturday in St. Leo the Great Church, 885 Sweet Home Road, Amherst.


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