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A Tribute to Fred Crisafulli: A Man Worth Remembering

By

Samantha Flavell, SUNY Oswego

OSWEGO – Mayor William Barlow declared Feb. 1 to be Fred A. Crisafulli day in the city of Oswego, in honor of the unsung hero who left such a mark on this city.

Fred A. Crisafulli
Fred A. Crisafulli

Crisafulli served in the Navy, the Marine Corps, and supported the veterans of Oswego after his own retirement.

He was actively involved in numerous organizations in the community, including acting as the first tourism director of Oswego, and as Harbor Master.

“For 25 years or more, Fred was the first one to greet people to the city of Oswego,” said City Historian, Mark Slosek. “Sharing his unique viewpoint of Oswego with visitors.”

Crisafulli’s influences were far-reaching and impactful.

Mayor Billy Barlow presenting the declaration of Feb. 1 being named Fred A. Crisafulli day.
Mayor Billy Barlow presenting the declaration of Feb. 1 being named Fred A. Crisafulli day.

All who spoke at the recent tribute shared the similar story of a hardworking citizen who humbly did all he could to better the city he loved without asking for any recognition.

Mercedes Neiss, executive director of the Maritime Museum,recalled Crisafulli saying, “Giving back makes us better people, better citizens and a better community.”

Crisafulli’s family had been unable to have a public event last fall at his passing.

Crisafulli is survived by his wife, Eleanor.

Fred Crisafulli's uniform.
Fred Crisafulli’s uniform.

“Those who worked with Fred wanted to do something to honor him,” said Neiss.

The H. Lee White Maritime Museum, I Heart Oswego and Oswego City Hall coordinated the event for Wednesday, Feb. 1, to be a tribute for long-time Oswego resident.

Crisafulli died on Nov. 20 at the age of 91.

Crisafulli was well-known, with friends traveling from Rochester, and a retired military recruiter flying in from Florida for the event.

This illustrates just how well-known and loved Crisafulli was and how far his influences reached.

Photos set on display by Eleanor Crisafulli.
Photos set on display by Eleanor Crisafulli.

Crisafulli’s wife brought his uniforms, a photo album of newspaper clippings of his involvement, photos and American flags to decorate the corridor for visitors of the event to see and admire.

The pieces that were laid out gave a representation of all things that were most important to Crisafulli, his country, his city and most of all the people.

During the reception, attendees shared a similar mindset of the necessity to move forward and continue Crisafulli’s work to better the city and community.

“It’s all about moving forward now,” said Neiss.

The buzz of the room following the event expressed the eagerness to continue the projects that Crisafulli worked so hard to create.

Many have been inspired by Crisafulli to become more active in the community and work to make a difference.

Even after he is gone, Crisafulli is still bettering Oswego.

Christopher Mannoia presents Mayor Billy Barlow with a plaque.
Christopher Mannoia presents Mayor Billy Barlow with a plaque.

The ties that Crisafulli made are the reason for so many of Oswego’s treasures; such as the Charles C. Crisafulli Sea Cadet Post, of which Crisafulli was instrumental in setting up.

And the influential relationships he made as president of the Oswego Rotary Club.

Or the gratitude of those he helped by serving at the Oswego Salvation Army on Thanksgiving.

The mayor was not the only one to honor Crisafulli’s memory with an award.

Christopher Mannoia, a recruiter from Florida, presented a plaque to the city of Oswego in honor of Crisafulli and all the work he had done.

It was a night dedicated to honoring of one of Oswego’s unsung heroes and all the achievements he made to better the community he loved.