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Music community mourns death of one of its leaders

The Buffalo music community was saddened this weekend by the death of Ryan J. Casullo, chairman of the board for the Music is Art Foundation, which promotes music in the schools and the community.

Casullo, 34, of Lancaster, died Saturday evening in Erie County Medical Center from injuries suffered when his motorcycle and a box truck collided as he was entering the Niagara Thruway (I-190) at Exit 8, Niagara Street.

“Ryan came to MiA with grand visions of growth for the organization and motivated us all to strive for greater things,” MiA founder and Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac wrote on the Music is Art home page. “We will surely miss his upbeat attitude, his love for loud guitars, and his willingness to give of himself for the benefit of others. He was truly a special person.”

“I found Casullo to be a tireless champion of our area’s music scene, as well as a man whose love for music seemed to know no bounds,” Buffalo News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers blogged. “His enthusiasm not just for our area’s arts and culture, but for life in general, was relentless and infectious.”

Born in Buffalo, he attended Niagara University and was a manager at the Steer Restaurant before he began a career in banking about 10 years ago. He had been a branch manager for KeyBank and Five Star Bank. At the time of his death, he was a branch manager and banking officer for First Niagara Bank.

He was a member of the Leadership Buffalo Class of 2011, was a board member of Crisis Services and served as treasurer for the Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association.

Survivors include his wife of 11 years, the former Jill M. Kindelan; a son, Liam; a daughter, Layla; his mother, Kathy Roberts; his father, Vic; his stepfather, Mark Roberts; his stepmother, Janet Casullo; five brothers, Kevin, Sean, Derek Roberts, Sean Maloney and Tim Maloney; a sister, Maggie Maloney; and his grandmother, Joan Andersen.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave.