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Philip T. Garofaro, award-wining auto salesman

Dec. 4, 1935 – April 6, 2016

Philip T. Garofaro, of Williamsville, an award-winning automobile salesman, died April 6 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a battle with cancer. He was 80.

Born in Buffalo, the son of Sicilian immigrants, he was a graduate of Grover Cleveland High School and attended Canisius College. He served for eight years with the National Guard, playing clarinet with the 27th Armored Division Band.

In a 57-year career, Mr. Garofaro worked in management and sales for several dealerships and had a 28-year association with Keller Chevrolet. Although semi-retired in recent years, he continued with the dealership as a consultant and had many repeat customers. He was a member of the Chevrolet Legion of Leaders for eight years and won several sales incentive award programs. He also owned and operated Albrite Cleaners & Dyers on Niagara Street from 1971 to 1978.

A lifelong member of Holy Cross Catholic Church, he was a past president of the Holy Name Society, which named him its Man of the Year in 1970. Since 1985, he had been a member of the board of directors of the Holy Cross Head Start program.

He also was a former member of the board of directors of the Romulus Club and an honorary member of the Italian American Police Association, which gave him an award in January for his service to the organization. He also was a member of the Per Niente Men’s Club.

Since 2006, he had been president of the Board of Managers at Hickory Hill Estates Community in Williamsville, where he lived. He formed a bocce league in 2008 and was known as “The Commissioner.” An avid golfer, he shot a hole-in-one in 1994 at Chestnut Hill Country Club.

His wife, the former Grace Lamantia, died in 1980. He was remarried to the former Susanna Illi in 2000.

In addition to his wife, survivors include three daughters, Laurie Kukoleca, Deborah Poloncarz and Linda Vazquez; a sister, Mary Runfola; and six grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered last Saturday in Holy Cross Church, Niagara and Maryland streets.