By Jared Lindell
The holiday season is a great time to reflect on life and give thanks. The Community Foundation is thankful for community citizens that are so committed to making the Chautauqua region a better place to live. Many funds have been established for such individuals, as is the case with the Thomas A. Buttafaro Community Service Fund.
A lifelong Jamestown resident, Tom Buttafaro was a 1976 graduate of Jamestown High School and a 1978 graduate of Jamestown Community College. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus in accounting from St. Bonaventure University in 1980.
From a professional perspective, Tom was a very driven person. When he began his job at Buffamante, Whipple, Buttafaro P.C. (BWB), the firm was employing only a few people. After becoming managing director, BWB grew to one of the largest, most successful firms in the area with more than 30 employees. It was Tom’s desire to keep jobs local that helped make this happen. When Tom graduated from college, he wanted to stay in his hometown and become a productive member of the working community. The only way for this to happen was for jobs to be available. He worked hard to help BWB grow, so that others could find job opportunities that might not have been previously available.
From a personal standpoint, there were three very important aspects in Tom’s life being family, faith, and fun. After college, Tom met his wife, Michelle DePetro Buttafaro; and the two were married in 1983. Following marriage, the couple had three children, Melissa, Kaitlyn, and Andrew. Tom was always planning projects around the house, special trips, or picnics to spend time with the family; and he very much positively influenced his children’s lives. He was also very close to his mother and father, who were his motivation for wanting to stay in Chautauqua County. Family was the primary basis for all his values and beliefs.
The second basis was his faith. As service to his faith, he was a board member for Holy Family Catholic School, where his children attended. Also, as a communicant of St. James Roman Catholic Church, his faith helped sustain him through some of his most trying times.
With family and faith, Tom also knew the importance of having fun. He enjoyed sports and was a most avid golf and basketball fan. He also enjoyed coaching, whether through Little Hoopers, Jamestown Area Youth Soccer, or the Cal Ripken Baseball League. Aside from sports, he even planned partner trips to Florida for BWB employees, as he felt fun should also be part of the workplace.
Finally, community involvement was very much a part of Tom’s life. He was active in a number of organizations over his life including: member of the Jamestown YMCA, founder of the Jamestown AM Rotary Club, and member of the Columbus Council 926, Jamestown.
Thomas A. Buttafaro passed away on July 29, 2002, after a long bout with cancer. Not long after, through the assistance of his peers at BWB, the Thomas A. Buttafaro Community Service Fund was established at the Community Foundation. While cancer was a part of his life, Tom realized that the disease did not define him, and, through his illness, Tom showed the spirit and resolve he had demonstrated his entire life. His personal and business successes made him the man he was, and he will always be remembered for the impact he had on the community through his business insight and community involvements. However, most importantly, he will be known as a faithful, caring, family man who touched many lives and continues to today.
Published in the December 10th edition of The Post-Journal