Tufillaro Benkovich ~ Julie Tufillaro Peterson ~ Bill Tufillaro, Jr.
There are so many words that come to mind when talking about Bill. Most would
remember him as a happy man. He woke up happy and came home happy. We would
hear him whistling as the garage door opened. He loved to whistle while he cooked and
washed the dishes as Dusty didnt like to cook. He was a night owl and
loved to sit on the couch eating grapes and cheese, laughing while watching Johnny
Carson. We always knew when dad was the last to eat ice cream or peanut butter
because he would contour food in its container.
He did love to cook and eat. During his
catering days, the refrigerator was always stocked with his famous beef tenderloin and
béarnaise sauce and fabulous desserts and pastries conjured up by my mother.
She came a long way from just being able to make tea when they were first
married! She supported Bill in his need to be the male version of Martha
Stewart in Buffalo. Bill catered many swanky affairs which kept many of us in
the family employed. He certainly instilled a strong work ethic in all of us.
He spent 32 years as manager of the Buffalo Tennis and Squash Club.
I think we would all agree that Bill was a hard working man. He
had to be in order to support Dustys M & M habit!
Since Bill always stayed up late,
we had to try to sneak past him, hoping that he would stay asleep on the couch while
waiting up for us coming in past curfew. One morning dad was sleeping
exceptionally late after having been on a friends boat the night before.
Dusty claimed he was seasick when we questioned why he
wasnt getting out of bed. Being compassionate children, we ran to the
liquor cabinet and nestled a full bottle on Tanqueray in between his pillows as a reminder
that Bill aways said that Tufillaros cant drink!
Family gatherings were always a lot
of fun. When we went to Grandma and Grandpa Ts for Sunday dinner, the
kids had five things to play with: cards, Chinese checkers, the vise, a bowling ball, and
grandma's shopping cart in the basement. After dinner, the women would
do the dishes and the men would talk in the dining room. They talked
about the war, politics, and sports. With each topic of discussion their
voices got louder and louder. All the kids thought the men were arguing.
It was just their way of being together.
Bill loved to travel.
He and Dusty had spent the winter months in Siesta Key, Florida up
until 2001. They traveled to Hawaii, California, Texas, the Bahamas, and
Bermuda. In 1987 Bill traveled for several months as an honorary
Brigadier General with the U.S. Army judging food kitchens in the United States, Panama,
Germany, and Korea. He did this as a member of International Food Service
Executives of America. He was also a member of the Club Managers
Many will remember Bill as happily
married. Bill and Dusty had the perfect marriage. They were really
in love. Their marriage was envied by many. He and Dusty would walk hand in
hand on the beach and often seen kissing in the kitchen. One of the kids
would always ask if they would like to be alone!
Before Dusty and Bill got married
in 1960, Bill asked Dustys father if he could have her hand in marriage he
replied Spaghetti and Sauerkraut Dont Churn. Her
father was German and his family was Italian. We think spaghetti and
sauerkraut made a nice combination.
Bill was also a family man.
He was always willing to play catch or basketball with you outside.
He loved to swim with his family and some of our best memories were made
around the pool where he would do one of his famous cannon balls and we thought half the
water in the pool would empty out. We called him Willy the Whale when he did
that. Bill was known as Poppy to his granddaughters Brooke, Kara, and Marisa.
He enjoyed spending time with the girls and attended their games, dance
recitals, and concerts while he was able.
Bill always seemed to be sporting a
cast. He probably broke every bone in his body at least once. He
broke his leg twice, arm twice, and fell of the roof and broke his wrist and his heel.
Who ever heard of anyone breaking a heel? We nicknamed him Evil
Kin evil when he came home from Nassau with a broken leg. He claimed that
since he was the youngest of six boys he never got enough milk!
He played football at Lafayette
High School; was an officer in his high school fraternity, TZT, and was one of the first
(and "coolest") to drive a car (even though he only lived about two blocks from
school!). It was a two-tone 1952 Pontiac, the envy of all the guys, and the magnet
for all the girls! Bill had tunnel vision when it came to cars. If
his car got a ding or the tiniest scratch, it was time for a new car! He
often heard rattling and would take us for a ride and asked us if we could hear it too.
While he was hard of hearing, we usually didnt hear any of the
noises he heard but sure enough, within a few weeks of poring over car magazines and
brochures, there was always a new car in the driveway. Sometimes there
was an old car in his driveway. He bought a 1930 Model A and kept that
for a few years. When the grandkids got in the Model A for the first
time they asked Poppy where the cd player was! Talk about a
While its a shame that he got
sick at such an early age, we need to celebrate his life and remember the way he touched
each and every one of us. You cant think of Bill without also
thinking of Dusty. We hope that in some way, he knows what excellent
care Dusty gave him. Dusty depicts the epitome of her marriage vows,
especially "for better for worse and in sickness and in health".
Her devotion to his care was second to none he couldnt
have asked for a more loving wife. She always put Bills needs
ahead of her own and did everything in her power to keep him at home till the bitter end.
We are glad she did it her way.
We will miss Bill, his infectious
laugh, and keen sense of humor. He would say something funny, we would
all laugh, and then he would look at us surprised, and start laughing himself.
When he first got sick, Andrea told him that he looked really thin.
He replied, "I wish I could say the same for you!"
When he realized what he had just said, we all laughed!
You always knew where you stood with Bill.
Let us remember the good times as we celebrate his