Aug. 30, 1925 – March 16, 2015
Oniel “Cozzie” Cozzolino, a Lancaster native who credited the Boy Scouts for preparing him for his Word War II service, died Monday in Williamsville. He was 89.
For a Buffalo News article about his work as a squad leader and sergeant 1st class in the Army during the war, he credited his training by a Scout troop leader and former Marine. By the time he enlisted after high school at age 18, Cozzolino already knew the marching drills and was experienced in cold-weather camping.
“We slept right out in the snow in Belgium. We had no choice,” he told a reporter. When he got home after the war, he remembered his encounter, at church, with his former Scout leader.
“After Mass, I ran out and went up to him and said, ‘John Kenyon, I want to thank you for all the things you taught me in scouting.’ He got tears in his eyes. It was an honor to see him,” Cozzolino said during an interview.
Cozzolino was one of the oldest members of Lancaster’s Our Lady of Pompeii Catholic Church, his family’s church. He was a member of the Knights of St. John and the Holy Name Society.
A butcher by trade, he owned Cozzie’s Market in Lancaster before he was hired by Convenient Food Mart to set up its deli departments.
As a golfer, he twice scored holes in one.
He served in the Army from 1943 to 1946 and earned a Bronze Star and Liberation Medals from Luxembourg and Belgium. He was a member of VFW Post 7275.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Joan; four daughters, Gail Sciandra, Carol Zablotny, Janet Metzgar and Joyce Walsh; seven grandchildren: and five great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Our Lady of Pompeii Church, 158 Laverack Ave., Lancaster.