Samuel Forcucci (age 96) passed away on 26 April 2019 at Cortland Park Nursing Facility. He was born the 5th of 6 children to Guilio and Anna Forcucci in Granville NY. His parents immigrated to the USA from Abruzzi Italy.
After graduating from SUNY Potsdam, Sam went on to earn a Master’s degree in Music Composition from Syracuse University and a Doctorate in Music from Columbia University. He started his teaching career at the middle and high school level in Booneville NY for 3 years and then was recruited to SUNY Cortland where he eventually retired after 34 years in 1985 as a Full Professor and Chairman of the Music Dept.
Sam is survived by his three sons Jay (wife Michelle), Joe and David (wife Kelly). He has six grandchildren Jessica (husband Aaron), Christopher, Courtney (husband Jamison), Alexandra, Paige and Sarah. He was pre-deceased by his wife Anna, his parents and his brothers and sisters.
Since his arrival in Cortland in 1951, Sam engaged himself in community service. He was a charter member and Past President of the Cortland County Association of Retarded Children (ARC), Salvation Army Advisory Board member, Cortland Free Library Board member, Special Children’s Center Board member, and NYS Electric and Gas Board member. He had over 10,000 hours of volunteer service at the Cortland Memorial Hospital and served as a counselor for Family Services. Sam was a two term Mayor of the City of Cortland and was the recipient of several honors including the Salvation Army “Others” award, Senior Citizen of the Year award, and JM Murray Humanitarian award.
Sam’s true love was music. Besides his teaching career, he was the Director of Music at St Anthony’s Church for 31 years, Director of the Old Timer’s Band for 21 years and guest conducted and adjudicated numerous music festivals. Sam’s greatest passion was playing Jazz especially in small combos where improvisation was the “modus operandi”. He published several compositions and was author/co-author of three textbooks.
During World War II, Sam served in the 82 Airborne Division in the European theater earning 4 battle stars for night parachuting insertions into Normandy on D-Day, into Belgium and Holland during the Battle of the Bulge, and later into Northern Germany during the final sweep. After the cessation of hostilities, he formed and directed a 60 piece Honor Guard Band at General Eisenhower’s Supreme Command Headquarters in Frankfurt Germany.
Calling Hours will be at 9 am on Friday 3 May at Wright Beard Funeral Home. Funeral services will follow at the funeral home at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, friends are requested to consider donations to St Anthony’s Church, Cortland Free Library and the Cortland Hospital Foundation.