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'Strolling Mandolinist' devoted life to serving others

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By Jerry Vondas
Sunday, April 10, 2011

Joe Bucciero was "The Strolling Mandolinist" who played and taught the mandolin, but he also aided the unemployed in Westmoreland County.

"My husband designed programs that would attempt to utilize the potential and the skills of the men and women who lost their jobs during times of recession," said his wife, Florence Cutroneo Bucciero.

Joseph R. Bucciero of Greensburg, formerly of Delmont, retired program developer for Westmoreland/Fayette Private Industry Council, died on Friday, April 8, 2011, in Westmoreland Manor, Greensburg. He was 90.

Mr. Bucciero played the mandolin at weddings, anniversaries and festivals throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. In 1993, he was named Murrysville Area Citizen of the Year for Delmont in appreciation for his commitment to organizations such as the Lions Club and Meals on Wheels.

Mrs. Bucciero recalled her husband's regard for people and his understanding of their potential.

"And for many, Joe was able to have them use this potential in trying to find gainful employment," she added "After Joe retired, he'd also prepare programs for underperforming school children in Westmoreland County."

Mr. Bucciero utilized his understanding of his employees and their potential when he was employed in management for Montgomery Ward, Sears and Kmart stores in New York and West Virginia and in local areas, including East Liberty, South Hills and Greensburg, his wife said.

Born and raised in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Joseph Bucciero was one of six children in the family of restaurateur Anthony Bucciero and his wife, Antoinette Brancaccia Bucciero.

After graduating from Niagara Falls High School in 1938, he began working in a shingles factory to help at home.

Mr. Bucciero was deferred from serving in the military during World War II because of his status as a caregiver for his family, but found employment with Bell Aircraft in Niagara Falls, which was producing fighter planes for the Army Air Corps.

"Joe was proud to do his part for the war effort," his wife added.

In 1947, Joseph Bucciero married Florence Cutroneo, a bookkeeper whose father operated a fruit and vegetable store in Niagara Falls.

"The kids and I had a great life with Joe," said his wife. "During the time he was laid off during a downturn in one of the stores and stayed home, they were hoping that he would never have to go back to work again."

In addition to his wife, Florence, Mr. Bucciero is survived by his children, Anthony P. Bucciero of Export and John J. Bucciero of Annapolis, Md., a daughter, Toni Jo Bucciero of Boise, Idaho; five grandchildren and one great-grand child.

He was preceded in death by his sisters, Anna, Angela, Margaret, Josephine and Rose.

Family and friends will be received from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday and 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in Vaia Funeral Home Inc., 463 Athena Circle, Delmont.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. John the Baptist de la Salle Catholic Church in Delmont. Entombment will follow in Twin Valley Memorial Park, Delmont.

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