Charles N. Polito, Jr.,
chef, food service manager
Charles Nicholas Polito Jr., a
Buffalo native, passed away on
29, 2016 in hospice care at
Carolina Memorial Hospital, after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
Chuck was the son of the late Charles N. Polito, Sr.
and the late Grace Tramontana Polito. He
entered the U. S. Army in 1954, shortly after
Lafayette High School, where he was a member of
Tau Zeta Tau Fraternity (TZT), a source
of lifelong friendships. In the service, he was
dispatched to mess hall duty “because he had worked
in a grocery store” and they needed someone to cook:
ironic, as he had never cooked before at all. He
quickly found out that he had a passion for it, and
the mess hall assignment was to shape his
He and several of his high school friends (Leo
Siracuse, Bill Tufillaro,
and Tom Tirone)
were stationed in Germany in various villages during
the same period in the 1950s, and he would often
visit them when on leave (see below).
played 1 year of semi-pro football while in the
army. He found that the other players were
larger than he, and after he injured his knee he
decided he would stick to cooking .
After his military service he attended Erie
County Technical Institute (now Erie
Community College), earning an Associates Degree
in Food Service Administration . Soon after
graduating in 1959 he began employment with
Interstate United Food Service (IUFS), where
he supervised food service and supply accounts
locally for Buffalo Children’s Hospital and for
national accounts with US Steel, Republic Steel and
General Motors. He was with IUFS for 24
years, relocating in the
Eastern US eight times to locations including Ohio, Florida, and Alabama,
retiring as a Regional Manager. He was
an accomplished chef, and after retiring from the
food service industry, he operated a successful
child-care business with his family.
In 1960 Mr. Polito married Janelle L. Jones, his
wife of 56 years. They met while he was a student
at ECTI and she was attending Buffalo
State Teachers College.
had their first date in September 1959.
He took her home to meet his family on New Years day
of 1960. He had already told his mother Grace that
he had found the girl he wanted to marry. They wed
on September 3, 1960. Their daughter Charmaine
was born in 1961 and Janelle arrived in 1966.
They celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary
among family and friends in Buffalo, in 2010.
Mr. Polito was
pre-deceased by his elder brother Anthony (Dolly)
and younger brother Joseph
(Louise), who also was a fraternity brother in
TZT. In addition to his wife and daughters
he is survived by three grandchildren:
Charles (Brittney) Perez,
Michael (Kendyll Short) Nelems, and Madison Nelems;
by his sisters Ann
(late Thomas) Carroll and Margaret
(Nils) Hjalmarson; and a brother Louis (Kathy).