June 13, 1928 – Oct. 21, 2019
Anthony F. “Tony” Quaranto Sr., a former Niagara County legislator and member of the Niagara Falls City Council, died unexpectedly Monday in Buffalo General Medical Center. He was 91.
He served in the county Legislature from 1976 to 1985. He was elected Democratic majority leader in 1982 and became legislature chairman in 1983.
“The year that I served as chairman of the Legislature was one of the toughest years of my life,” he told Buffalo News reporter Richard E. Baldwin in 1987. “The county had a $2 million deficit and I froze the budget. I talked with the department heads and did what I had to do, and some of it was painful. But when I left the chairmanship, the county had a $600,000 surplus.”
During his 16 years on the Niagara Falls City Council, he was its first chairman under the new City Charter in 1988 and was chairman again when he retired in 2001.
Favored in his bid to become mayor in 1991, he lost to another councilman, Republican Jacob A. Palillo, by fewer than 300 votes. After being defeated in the Democratic primary in 1995, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor on the Liberal and Right to Life tickets.
Born in Niagara Falls, the son of Italian immigrants, Anthony Frank Quaranto was the only boy among six children. He was a 1947 graduate of Trott Vocational High School, where he earned letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. He then attended St. Mary’s High School for a year to continue playing football as a running back and quarterback.
He attended a labor-management school at Cornell University and served for many years as a steward with the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union at Carborundum Co., where he worked in shipping and receiving for 30 years.
After high school, he continued to play football in the Western New York Semi-Professional Football League with the North End Merchants, Prospect House and the Hitching Post.
He also played baseball in the Double I League, where he was an outfielder on two championship Pop Davidson teams and a champion Simon Oil team.
An avid bowler, he competed in many leagues. His bowling highlights included a 300 game and winning a doubles tournament in 1996 with his son, Anthony Jr., at Frontier Lanes.
A longtime member of the New York State Men’s Bowling Association, he was elected a director in 1964 and went on to serve as secretary, vice president and president.
He also was a longtime member and officer of the Niagara Falls Bowling Association and was instrumental in bringing the American Bowling Congress Tournament to Niagara Falls in 1983 and 1987. During the 1980s, he served on the board of directors of the Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A member of the New York State Football, Basketball and Baseball Officials, Mr. Quaranto was a referee for high school and college football games and high school basketball and baseball games. He also was a coach for several sports and a co-founder of the Whirlpool Little League in 1970.
He was inducted into the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame, joined with John Laurendi to revive it in 1991 after it had been discontinued, and served as its president for many years.
His numerous honors included the Niagara Award, the Top Hat of the Week Award, the Sportsman By-Gone Years Award, the Niagara Falls Education Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award and the New York State Seniors bowling championship.
He was active in many clubs and organizations, including the United Way, the Knights of Columbus, the Sertoma Club, the Cristoforo Columbo Society, St. Raphael’s Catholic Church and Catholic Charities.
He served on the board of directors for the Red Cross and was a volunteer for many years at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
An avid Buffalo Bills fan and season ticket holder, he attended this season’s first home game.
He enjoyed golf and shot a hole-in-one on the 17th hole at Whirlpool Golf Course in Niagara Falls, Ont., during the Niagara County Supreme Court golf tournament. In retirement, he also worked as a starter at Hyde Park Golf Course.
He also enjoyed visiting his daughter, Michele Payne, in Lafayette, La., and attending Mardi Gras.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, the former Myrabelle Dingwall; another daughter, Annette Louise Quaranto; two sons, Anthony Jr. and James; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, in St. Raphael’s Church, 3840 Macklem Ave., Niagara Falls.