WNY remembers Mark Croce & Michael Capriotto

Two prominent businessmen died in helicopter crash in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

WBEN Newsroom
January 10, 2020 - 9:39 am
Mark Croce
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The business community is mourning the deaths of Mark Croce and Michael Capriotto.

The two prominent businessmen died Thursday night in a helicopter crash in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania while returning to Buffalo from Washington, D.C.

Croce, 58, was instrumental in the resurgence of the City of Buffalo. He was the owner of Statler City, Buffalo Chophouse, and Curtiss Hotel, all staples of Downtown Buffalo and often joined WBEN for analysis on development in Buffalo.

"Mark was a really class guy," Bob Fine, an attorney who worked with Croce on the acquisition of Statler City, said. "If someone reached out for help in any area, he was always there. He was a renaissance man and a visionary. He was the ultimate entrepreneur. When he saw the Statler in trouble and people were talking about ripping it down, he stepped up...Mark was a leader in wanting to make things happen in Downtown Buffalo."

Mark Croce

Fine described him as "creative", "approachable", and a "good human being".

"His loss is a huge loss not only for his younger family but to the area," Fine added.

Michael Capriotto (Photo courtesy of Erie County Fair)
Michael Capriotto (Photo courtesy of Erie County Fair)

The Buffalo Planning Board is no stranger to working with Croce on his various developments in the City of Buffalo. Chairman James Morrell said Croce's death was a great loss to the city.

"This is a loss where the city is doing really well with the resurgence of downtown and Mark played a significant part in that early on with the Coliseum, the Statler project, Curtiss Hotel...It's a pretty big loss for the city," Morrell said.

Capriotto, 63, owned several businesses in the Orchard Park area. He was described by Joe Wales, the owner of Arthur's Hardware in Orchard Park, as a "fantastic man who would give you the shirt off his back".

The FAA and NTSB continue their investigation into the accident.

MORE REACTION:

ERIE COUNTY COMPTROLLER STEFAN MYCHAJLIW RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT

"I am saddened to learn that two treasured members of our community were killed in a helicopter crash in Pennsylvania. Mark Croce believed in the resurgence and potential of Buffalo when not many others did. Mark took a chance on developing in Buffalo, and in doing so, he inspired others to follow suit. Mark was the spark, the catalyst, of our downtown core’s rebirth. He was so committed to our city and region, a true believer who worked to make Buffalo a better place. My heart goes out to his family.

Michael Capriotto, also of Orchard Park, was passionate about his community, as well. A businessman who invested in Orchard Park, he always said ‘yes’ and answered the call when people or charitable causes needed help. A former Village of Orchard Park Trustee, Mr. Capriotto was actively involved in supporting the Veterans Memorial Park in Orchard Park and had served on the board of Woodlawn Cemetery, among many worthy organizations.  He owned the Kwik Fill directly across from Orchard Park Town Hall. He was a well known businessman and philanthropist who always gave back to the community he loved.  Our hearts are heavy today with the loss of these two great men."

FORMER BUFFALO MAYOR TONY MASIELLO RELEASED THIS STATEMENT:

"Mark Croce was a significant partner with my administration in the transformation and revitalization of downtown Buffalo. He was a pioneer who saw the great potential of our city, recognizing and embracing the rich, historic fabric and character of downtown, its buildings and businesses. He invested his own money in projects and in people, leading to Buffalo’s renaissance which continues today. His great passion and love for Buffalo was only exceeded by his love and devotion to his family.

Kate and I offer our deepest condolences to Mark’s wife, Jessica and their children, and to the family of Michael Capriotto."

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