March 22, 1922 – Dec. 7, 2012
Vincent F. “Jim” Quagliana, of Amherst, a World War II veteran, banjo player and top-selling wine salesman, died Friday, Pearl Harbor Day, in Beechwood Continuing Care, Getzville. He was 90.
A 1940 graduate of Hutchinson-Central High School, Mr. Quagliana studied at the University of Buffalo but enlisted in the Army shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He rose to the rank of corporal and was stationed in France.
Toward the end of the war, he was stationed in France, and Charles Quagliana, his cousin and next-door neighbor, was stationed in Germany. The Buffalo Evening News carried a story after the U.S. Army arranged for the two soldiers to have Christmas dinner together with Vincent Quagliana’s unit in France.
After the war, Mr. Quagliana became co-owner of Whitney Liquor Store in Buffalo before becoming a regional salesman for E.&J. Gallo Winery. As a top salesman, he was entertained at the Modesto, Calif., home of one of the Gallo brothers.
Mr. Quagliana continued selling wine, retiring as a salesman for Wine Merchants Inc. in 1984.
During a trip to Las Vegas in 1990, he was driven to a party by Nevada’s then-Gov. Bob Miller and, among others, spent the evening with jazz singer Mel Torme during a birthday party for Torme’s sister. The party was noted in the social pages of the Las Vegas Sun.
Mr. Quagliana, who always wore a shirt and tie, also tipped his hat and made the sign of the cross whenever he passed a church. “Even in the nursing home, he had a shirt and sweater on every day,” said a niece, Beverly J. Bauda.
Mr. Quagliana was adept a playing the banjo, according to his niece. He was a member of the Queen City Jazz Society and Fretted Instrument Guild of America. He also was a member of the St. Benedict Holy Name Society.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. Benedict Catholic Church, 1317 Eggert Road at Main Street, Eggertsville.