Joseph A. Leo, 94, of Haeberle Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 31, 2016 in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center after a brief illness. He was born in Niagara Falls, NY on January 26, 1922 to the late Ernest and Mary (nee Truzello) Leo.
A lifetime resident of Niagara Falls Joe was a graduate of Niagara Falls High School Class of 1940 and attended Bryant and Stratton and Buffalo Radio and Television School. From 1942-1945 he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was the featured trumpeter with the 514th US Air Force Band with the 8th Air Force under Glen Miller.
On March 29, 1944 he married his High School sweetheart, the former Mary A. Riggi, in St. Joseph's Church. She passed away December 3, 2012.
Joe's employment history spanned over 40 years from 1940-1984 working for Carborundum, TNT Construction, Olin Chemical, and retiring from the Niagara Falls Board of Education in 1984 after 25 years of service.
A child prodigy in music, Joe had "perfect pitch," a gift from God. Joe's music career lasted over 75 years beginning as a charter member of the Center Avenue School's first band in 1931. A professional trumpeter, playing for many big dance bands such as John Morell, Evan White, Ernie Whistler, Cliff Fielding,Vince Colling, Pete Genovese, Don LaScala, and the Hal Palumbo Band, performing at Red Coach Inn, Luigi's Night Club, Rhapsody Club, Buena Vista, Whirlpool Nite Club, the Alps Restaurant, and the Ramada Inn among many, many others. Joe was a gold card member of American Federation of Musicians Local 106 since 1938. Together with his wife, Mary, they enjoyed traveling and spending their winters in Las Vegas, NV, and Wichita, KS, to be with their children and granddaughter.
Mr. Leo is survived by three children, Allan (late Connie) Leo of Niagara Falls, NY, Philip (Dawn) Leo of Las Vegas, NV, Joelle (Carl H.) Watts of Wichita, KS; a granddaughter, Marielle Leo of Las Vegas, NV; one sister, Olga Marie (Mario) Lorenzoni of Plano, TX; one sister-in-law, Mary Leo of Wheatfield; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins and dear friends. Mr. Leo was predeceased by his parents; his wife of 68 years, the late Mary A. (nee Riggi) Leo; his son, the late Jeffrey Leo; and two brothers, the late Vincent (Katherine) Leo and the late Francis Leo.
The family will be present to receive friends on Thursday from 5-8 PM at the SPALLINO-AMIGONE FUNERAL HOME, 1300 Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY, where funeral services will be held on Friday at 12 PM with Rev. Duane R. Klizek officiating. Interment will be in St. Joseph Cemetery, Niagara Falls, NY. Family and friends invited.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Mr. Leo's memory to St. Jude Shrine, 975 Ridge Road, Lewiston, NY 14092.
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Published on August 2, 2016