Jan. 9, 1943 – July 11, 2018
Michael J. Crato, owner of Mike the Eyeglass Man on Delaware Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda, put the personal touch into his profession as an optician.
“He loved his job. He loved his customers. He took great pride in being Mike the Eyeglass Man,” his wife, Linda, said. “He would drive to the homes of his elderly customers to fix their glasses. He would go to nursing homes. His work ethic was unmatchable.”
An optician for 56 years, he worked six days a week until his death.
Mr. Crato died unexpectedly July 11 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 75.
Born in Buffalo, he was a 1960 graduate of Hutchinson Central Technical High School and earned an associate degree from Erie County Technical Institute, now Erie Community College. He served for six years in the Army National Guard in the 1960s.
He worked for various optical firms early in his career, then owned and operated the Optical Shoppe on Grant Street on Buffalo’s West Side. He opened Mike the Eyeglass Man in 1984.
Six years later he was named Kenmore Businessman of the Year.
Mr. Crato's other passion was classic automobiles. He owned a succession of them and displayed them regularly during weekly cruise nights at Pautler’s Drive-In on Transit Road in Clarence.
“When he wasn’t eating, sleeping or working, he was polishing a car,” his wife said. “He always had a new Cadillac as his main car, then on the side he would buy a car and he would tell me how smooth the engine was and how clean the interior was. He’d polish it up and then the next day there’d be a for sale sign on it because that’s what he really liked to do.”
He and the former Linda Licata, a teacher and program coordinator in the Buffalo schools, were married in 1996. They resided in Williamsville.
Survivors also include a daughter, Michelle Morris; a son, Michael Jr.; two step-daughters, Maria Watson and Rosalie Shaughnessy; a sister, Patricia Morton; a brother, Dante; and six grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, July 28, in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 200 St. Gregory Court at Maple Road, Amherst.