ERIE, Pennsylvania – Mario R. Cocuzzi, 93, passed away at home October 23, surrounded by his loving family.
He was born October 28 1922 in Warren, Ohio the son of Coradino and Vincenzia Cocuzzi.
After serving for 3 years in the second World War, he married Philomena DeMare of Niles, Ohio.
Mario was the head meat cutter for Kroger, teaching for the stores in the tri-state area. In 1966 he opened the first Arby’s in Erie on West 8th St. His store won an award for being the best. A few years later he built another Arby’s on Buffalo Road.
An avid fisherman, he spent long hours on the lake where perch and walleye were his favorite catch, filleting them to perfection. He was a founding member of the Commodore Perry Yacht Club later using the Walnut Creek access for his boat anchor.
After 40 years, he returned to playing the accordion. In high school, he led a band which played for weddings and other events. Here in Erie many enjoyed his music and often asked him to play at various functions. He attended conventions in Las Vegas and entertained on cruises. Mario brought renowned accordion player Dick Contino of Las Vegas to Erie’s art festival and donated to many organizations, far too many to mention.
He loved people and all his Arby’s customers often giving cookies to the children. He was a generous man.
He was a member of St. Peters Cathedral and we thank the priest, deacons and church family for their many prayers and family visits during this time. The family also thanks the various helpers he had over the past years. A very special thank you to all those from the Veterans Hospital who supplied equipment support and concern.
Survivors are his children, James and Norma Jean; son-in-law, Howard Teufel; second wife Vienna Prioletti whom he married in 1974; Heather and Chris Schultz; Brendon and Rachael Kozolup and great-grandchildren, Ethan and Owen Schultz.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Philomena; brothers Albert, Joe and sister Norma.
Burial will be in All Souls Cemetery.
Private services were held on Wednesday, October 26 at the Peter Rossi & Son Memorial Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Alzheimers Association and St Peters Cathedral.
Family and friends may visit www.peterrossiandsonfh.com to view this obituary, sign the guest book and send condolences to the Cocuzzi family.
A television tribute will air Thursday, October 27 at the following approximate times:
6:41 a.m. WYTV and 8:41 a.m. MyYTV and 9:58 a.m. on FOX plus two additional spots throughout the day.