Francis B. Brusino passed away Sept. 29, 2013, at the age of 82.
He was the beloved husband of 22 years to Susan E. (nee Fleming) Brusino; dearest father of Lee (Eileen) Brusino, F. Gregory (Jennifer) Brusino, and Karl Brusino; and devoted grandfather of Haley, Joseph, Alora, Brandon, Catja, and Donovan Brusino. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Frank and Faustina (nee Cipollone) Brusino and his sister Geraldine Brusino. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews.
The family will be present Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the (Tonawanda Chapel) Amigone Funeral Home Inc., 2600 Sheridan Drive (corner Parker Boulevard). Family and friends are invited to assemble at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 150 Broad St. at Clinton Park, in Tonawanda for a Mass of Christian Burial Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Interment with military honors to follow at Whitehaven Cemetery, East River Road, Grand Island. Flowers gratefully declined. If so desired, any donations made in Frank's memory will be forwarded by the family to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Born June 21, 1931, and raised on 19th Street in Niagara Falls, Brusino moved to Grand Island 22 years ago.
He graduated from Bishop Duffy High School in 1950 and played on the school's championship football team during his senior year.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Niagara University in 1954 and a Master of Arts from Niagara University in 1958. He also attended Florida State University, University of Delaware, University at Buffalo and Canisius College for certifications in guidance and administration.
He was a teacher, counselor and administrator in the Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District from 1958 to 1991, ending his educational career at Edward Town Middle School.
His military career spanned ROTC years at Niagara University from 1950 to 1954 with active duty following his commission in Germany and stateside to 1957. Service in the U.S. Army Reserve followed. He completed many military schools, including 11th Airborne Basic and Advanced Airborne Course (Jumpmaster); Infantry Officer Advanced Course; U.S. Army JFK Center, Special Warfare Course; U.S. Army Counter-Insurgency Course; Command and General Staff College, all during the 1950s and 1960s.
Brusino's proudest assignment was serving as battalion commander of the 19th Special Forces Group out of White Plains. He retired in 1991.
During the 1990s, he became commander of Headquarters 4th Brigade, N.Y. National Guard and was promoted to brigadier general, retiring in the late 1990s.
His military decorations include: Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Army Overseas Service Ribbon; Master Parachutist Badge; Special Forces Tab; NYS Military Commendation Medal; NYS Long and Faithful Service Medal.
As National Guard commander, he was called to duty during 1971 Attica Prison uprising.
Brusino was a member of many military and veteran organizations, including Special Forces Association, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 82nd Airborne Division, 11th Airborne Division, and 1/174th Veterans.
After 9/11, Brusino was a founding member of Grand Island's CERT Team (Citizen's Emergency Response Team) and had the honor of meeting President Bush on the tarmac in his 2004 visit to Buffalo. In front of Air Force One, he presented President Bush with an Enduring Freedom Coin from his son, Karl, who served in Afghanistan. The media following the event referred to him as the "unidentified man from Grand Island" meeting with and riding to Kleinhans with the president. When introduced at Kleinhans by the president as "quite a character" the president took time to talk about Frank and of all other first responders necessary for our country to be strong. He was awarded Excellence in Leadership Award for his work with CERT in 2005 and later in 2011 Frank was recognized by the Grand Island Fire Co. for his community services with the Grand Island CERT Team.
In the early 2000s, Brusino traveled with Friendship Airborne to China, Thailand, Cambodia and Mongolia, earning jump wings from each country. He also traveled with his son to war-torn Bosnia.
Brusino enjoyed hunting, boating and travel, visiting throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.
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