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May 6, 1915 – March 26, 2013

Longevity was a trademark of John Frontera’s life.

The West Seneca resident worked at Niagara Mohawk for 46 years, retiring when he was 73.

Well into his 90s, he bowled on four teams and played pinochle at the local senior center and at his church, where he was a member for at least 70 years.

And he was married to his wife for 73 years.

Mr. Frontera died Tuesday in Mercy Hospital. He was 97.

Born in Cortale, Italy, Mr. Frontera came to Buffalo in 1929 with his family.

He and his wife, Victoria, were honored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter – a faith-based marriage enhancement program – as the 2012 New York State winners of the Longest Married Couple Project.

At the time, Mr. Frontera told The Buffalo News that true love and a drink a day was the secret for a long, happy marriage.

“Have a glass of wine every day,” said Mr. Frontera, who had been making his own wine for years for family and friends.

The couple had three daughters, Paula Kurzawa, Francie Smith and Joanne, and two sons, Joseph and Thomas.

They also were the primary caregivers for Joanne, who was born with special needs, until she died in 2007 at age 41.

Mr. Frontera was a member of Fourteen Holy Helpers Catholic Church and an avid gardener who grew vegetables for his family in a garden adjacent to his house and in a small plot in his backyard.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Fourteen Holy Helpers Catholic Church, 1339 Indian Church Road, West Seneca. Prayers will be said at 9:15 in Amigone Funeral Home, 1024 French Road, Cheektowaga.