on May 23, 2014 - 9:40 PM
Oct. 22, 1912 – May 21, 2014
A few years ago, Salvatore “Sam” Francis Privitera told his children he needed a car. He was going on 100 and lived in a retirement community, so his daughter asked why.
“There’s a couple ladies” at the retirement home “I’d like to take out, and I have no transportation,” he responded.
Mr. Privitera was an endearing ladies’ man all his life, his family said.
He died April 21 at age 101.
Mr. Privitera attended Lafayette High School and worked at Prudential Insurance his entire career before coming out of retirement to work part time at Western Savings Bank. He appeared in the bank’s television commercials in addition to selling insurance.
As a young man during the Great Depression, he worked at the Mohican Market on Grant Street and earned $15 per week. Twelve of those dollars went to his parents.
Mr. Privitera was accepted to the University of Buffalo’s dental school but gave up his dream of becoming a dentist to help provide for his family. He did, however, attend UB, where he became a lightweight boxing champion.
When he was 21, a friend invited Mr. Privitera to a party specifically to meet a girl named Mary, who had just moved to town from Boston, Mass. Mr. Privitera wanted to ask her out, but it took him some time to work up the courage.
Eventually, however, they began dating, and they did so for three years before they were married in 1937.
They were together 64 years before Mary died in 2001.
In October 2012, the family threw a 100th birthday party for Mr. Privitera in Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, his favorite restaurant. Mr. Privitera, known for his beautiful baritone voice, delighted the crowd by singing a song.
He was a member of St. Benedict Parish from 1956 to 2009. He was a member of the church’s golf league and participated in the sport until he was 95.
He also was an active member of the St. Margaret’s senior center and the Knights of Columbus.
When Mr. Privatera sought to renew his license at age 96, his children thought surely his request would be denied, but he had it renewed for 10 more years.
Mr. Privitera was a longtime proponent of fitness and often told people the secret to his longevity was: “Motion is lotion.”
Mr. Privitera is survived by his two daughters, Rosella Bonadonna and Mary Grace Bartholomew; a son, Charles; six grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11:30 a.m. today in St. Benedict Catholic Church, 1317 Eggert Road at Main Street, Eggertsville.