Sept. 14, 1923 – Oct. 3, 2019
Joseph S. Cutrona, of the Town of Tonawanda, a retired insurance agent who was active in the Democratic Party, died Oct. 3 in Kenmore Mercy Hospital after a brief illness. He was 96.
Born in Buffalo, he was a 1942 graduate of Lafayette High School, where he played football and baseball and was a manager for the basketball team.
An outstanding football lineman, he was a two-way tackle, taking part in every down for three seasons. He was football team captain in his junior and senior years and was selected for the All-High team both years. In 2007, he was inducted into Lafayette’s Sports Hall of Fame and Buffalo’s Harvard Cup Hall of Fame.
He was offered football scholarships to Cornell and Columbia universities, but instead served in the Army in World War II and was a medic in France.
Returning from service, he accepted a football scholarship at Canisius College, where he again was an outstanding lineman. He completed a bachelor’s degree in business at Canisius and joined MetLife as an insurance agent. After he retired, he became involved in politics. He served as a Democratic committeemen in the Town of Tonawanda.
“I met Joe in 1976 when I was helping run Robin Schimminger’s first campaign for the Assembly,” former Erie County Democratic chairman Len Lenihan said. “He had just moved into town from Buffalo, he’d retired and he was looking for a nice hobby.”
Lenihan said that Mr. Cutrona “became one of my stalwart supporters and volunteers.”
When Lenihan was elected to Schimminger’s seat in the Erie County Legislature, Mr. Cutrona was one of his assistants.
“He was on my staff for 20 years,” Lenihan said. “He was part-time, but he just loved being involved in community affairs. He was my Mr. Do-It-All. Whatever I needed, he got it done.”
A longtime Buffalo Bills season ticket holder, he attended every home game until this year and was known to fans seated nearby as the “Mayor of the Section.” A trustee in the Buffalo Bills Booster Club, he flew a Bills flag from a flagpole in front of his home every weekend during football season.
“Everybody who met him, loved him,” Lenihan said. “He believed in helping your neighbor, helping your friends. He was there when you needed him.”
Devoted to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he also enjoyed golf.
Survivors include his wife of 46 years, the former Donna Paladino, an office assistant for the Town of Tonawanda; three daughters, Carol Brock, Maria Sanders and Lucille A. Lambert; four sons, Joseph A., Paul S., Charles Esposito and Anthony J. Esposito; a sister, Josephine Parisi; 17 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, 565 East Park Drive, Town of Tonawanda.