Nicolino F. Sterio, 97, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, May 18, 2020.
The son of the late Carmelo and Maria Sterio, Nick was born May 20 in Oswego, New York. The second of three children, he attended and graduated from Oswego High School, and later Aviation School in Elmira, New York.
Nick began a musical career that would span his lifetime, at a young age, first learning to play the banjo, and earning a small wage playing with his father’s Italian American Citizens Band.
At Oswego High, he learned to play the clarinet, and at 16 years old performed for the first time with the Oswego City Summer Concert Band.
After attending Aviation School, where he proudly met Orville Wright, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in 1941, spending time in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Corpus Christi, Texas, where he became a member of the “Air-Sea Rescue.” While in the service he also attended George Peabody College, now part of Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee.
He returned to Oswego, working as a carpenter for many years before opening Sterio’s Men’s Shop in 1954. He married his wife of 62 years, Adele Stracuzzi in 1958, and they raised two children, David and Judy, in his family homestead. Nick was a life member of many organizations including the American Federation of Musicians, Oswego Country Club, Carpenters Union Local 747 (now 277), Elks Club, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Charles C. Crisafulli Post, and was past president/vice president of the Oswego County Musicians’ Union, Oswego Kiwanis, Oswego Jaycees, Oswego YMCA and Retail Merchants. Nick was also a Board Member and Trustee of the Oswego City Labor Board and served two years in Oswego government representing the Fourth Ward.
Besides his family and business interests, Nick’s true passion was his music. His career took off in the 1940s, when he started his first band, a quartet, which played regularly at The Hillview Inn. As time went on, the bands got bigger, the gigs more frequent, and in their heyday, his Nick Sterio Orchestra was playing two, three and sometimes four jobs a weekend. Nick’s band was the “go-to” group for every wedding, prom, fraternity/sorority formal, dinner dance and Policemen’s/Firemen’s Charity Ball for many years. Most every prominent musician in Central New York played with Nick during his 75-year run as a band leader. Those musicians became life-long friends and memories. Late in his career, while in his eighties, he performed several times with the National Community Band along the east coast, and at 92, Nick was still performing with the Oswego City Band, the longest participating member of the organization.
In recent years, Nick and his wife Adele were still very active around the Oswego community, enjoying dinners at their favorite restaurants in town, golfing at the Oswego Country Club, and/or simply enjoying conversations with friends and family. Nick also loved watching his son at Oswego City and Jazz Band concerts, spending time with his daughter and family during the holidays, and practicing his clarinet and saxophone while watching television.
A proud and loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and uncle, Nick is survived by his devoted wife Adele (Stracuzzi) Sterio of Oswego, son David (Jill) Sterio of Oswego, and daughter Judy Sterio of New York City, grandchildren Shane and Shelby Stepien, great-grandchildren Spencer, Addison, Jameson and Connor, sister, Mamie Ellis, as well as dozens of nieces/nephews in Oswego, Massachusets, Maryland, and California. Nick was predeceased by his sister Mary Loschiavo.
A memorial service and celebration of Nick’s life will take place on a future date. Arrangements are in care of Sugar and Scanlon Funeral Home, Oswego.