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Nov. 3, 1916 – Feb. 7, 2014

Dr. Vincent S. Cotroneo, a family practitioner and surgeon for 61 years who also served as a combat medical doctor during World War II, died Friday in his Buffalo home after a short illness. He was 97.

Dr. Cotroneo was born in South Buffalo and earned a medical degree at the University of Buffalo in 1942.

He served in the Army’s 12th Armored Division during World War II, achieving the rank of captain.

During the war, he served in France, Germany and Austria, including the Battle of the Bulge. He was held as a prisoner of war in Germany for a single day. Dr. Cotroneo was awarded a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. In 2001, the French government honored him with the Croix de Guerre.

“His men followed him everywhere,” said his wife, Paula, whom Dr. Cotroneo married in 2002.

“He never had to ask for a volunteer. They just stepped and went with him. And he always said that they should have gotten the medals instead of him.”

After the war, Dr. Cotroneo worked as a physician until his retirement in 2003. He was the former medical director of Ridgeview Nursing Home, past president of Our Lady of Victory Hospital, and was affiliated with OLV Renaissance. He was also a practicing physician at Mercy Hospital.

Dr. Cotroneo was also a lifetime member of the 12th Armored Division Association, and the New York State and Erie County Medical Association. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Delta, Epsilon chapter.

During his career, he delivered more than 4,000 babies and built enduring connections with his patients across generations.

“I try to take care of both their physical and emotional needs,” he said in a 2003 Buffalo News story about his retirement. “I’ve always tried to be both a friend and a doctor.”

The story recounted how after the war, Dr. Cotroneo bought his home on McKinley Parkway. He used the first floor for his family practice, and on the second floor, he and his first wife, Rosina, raised their children. Rosina died in 1993.

In retirement, Dr. Cotroneo enjoyed gardening, reading and bowling.

Along with his wife, survivors include four sons, Vincent, George, Joseph and Carl; and five daughters, Rosann D’Auria, Joanne Larry, Diane Cooke, Mary Duggan and Maryann Cotroneo.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Our Lady of Charity Parish, 65 Ridgewood Road, Buffalo.