He graduated from Hutchinson
Technical High School in the city. He later did
college coursework at Bryant & Stratton Business
Institute. Arena served in the Army for two years,
from 1957 to 1959.
For 25 years, Arena worked for
Prudential Insurance Company in Williamsville,
starting as a sales agent. He was a district manager
for the company by the end of his career. Arena
retired from Prudential in 1987.
He later owned a Super Duper grocery
store and a laundromat in the Sheridan-Harlem Plaza.
He and his wife, Jeanette, were
Williamsville residents for 42 years. They also
lived in Palm Beach Gardens in Florida for part of
the year after he retired.
Arena loved to cook – he was known
for his sauce and pasta as well as other dishes –
and wrote a cookbook of his own a couple of years
ago, called “Keep it Simple With Sal.” The Arena
family had Sunday dinner every week at Arena’s
house, with at least 20 people attending, and Arena
would cook for those dinners, his wife said.
He also enjoyed horses and horse
racing, and liked to go to the track.
Arena was a painter, working in
oils, and was known for his paintings of natural
He also was known for his singing,
and for “his love of family and friends,” his wife
said. For years, every Tuesday night he and his wife
dined with the same set of friends from childhood.
He was a lifelong Catholic.
Survivors include his wife of 52
years, the former Jeanette LaDuca of Buffalo; three
sons, Michael J., John V. and Salvatore A.; two
daughters, Rosemarie Arena and Jennifer Hanulewicz;
two brothers, Michael Arena and Robert Arena; and 14
A Mass of Christian Burial will be
held at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Pius X Catholic Church