He was a man driven to constantly improve the world around him through hard work, faith, kindness and love. It’s those traits he’ll be remembered for, along with his wit, his charm and his relentless dedication to the people he loved.
Al was born in 1930 on Syracuse’s west side, one of six children to Leopold and Antonietta Cappuccilli. He spent a career building and selling homes with his brothers while raising a family of eclectic, independent children. He spent much of his life living in Skaneateles and enjoyed his winters on Sanibel Island in Florida. From a young age, Al dedicated himself to creating. After serving in the U.S. Army, he joined his brothers in business, constructing thousands of homes and communities throughout Central New York, including Village Green in Baldwinsville.
He was active with the ARC of Onondaga, which provides services to people with developmental disabilities, and was one of its early presidents. In 2010, ARC honored him with its Founders Award. In retirement, he put his skills to work for his faith, friends, and his family. At St. Mary’s of the Lake in Skaneateles, he proposed and oversaw construction of a building connecting the church to the parish center. In 2017 he noticed a trend of cemeteries creating cremation gardens. His concept of such a garden at St. Mary’s was recently completed and is scheduled to be dedicated in May. At St. Lucy’s in Syracuse he spearheaded the effort to give a new home to the church bell that had fallen from its tower in 1998.
In 1996, he established Shepherd’s Farm, a family homestead just outside Skaneateles. On this sprawling plot of land, he built a log cabin home that would bustle with family and friends at holidays. Al’s cabin was a must-stop spot for upwards of 100 people every Christmas Eve. Even Santa Claus never missed the party at Papa’s.
At Shepherd’s Farm, Al spent his time fishing, hunting, gardening and tending to his property. He was quick to offer a bowl of his famous Utica Greens and homemade venison sausage to any visitor who stopped in. And opening day of deer season was always a special event at Al’s hunting camp. Al didn’t mince words and never hid his feelings. If he had an opinion on something, he made sure to share it.
He showed love through action, dedicating his spare time to woodworking projects for his church, friends and family. If something broke, he fixed it. He valued knowledge and kept learning right up to the end, most recently recording his first Facebook Live video “just to see what it was about.”
He loved the outdoors and time spent conversing with friends on his back porch. He raised his children to be tough but kind, just as he was.
In every aspect of his life, Al strived to leave things better than the way he found them. Now that he’s gone, the world is a better place for having had him in it.
In addition to his parents, Al is also predeceased by his two brothers, Peter and Anthony; two sisters, Mary (Paratore) and Josephine (Geiss); and a daughter, LizBeth Cappuccilli.
He is survived by his best friend, Adelina “Bonnie” Romano; his brother, Rocco (Dorothy) Cappuccilli; seven children, Joanna Cappuccilli Lovetti, Deborah (Tom) Doran, Al Cappuccilli, Dean Cappuccilli, Sandra (Mark) Baker, Angela (Marty) Strodel, and Jamie O’Connor; 11 grandchildren, William Alfred(Brittany) Doran, Robert (Jaimi) Doran, David (Bonita) Doran, Michael (Courtney) Baker, Christopher Baker (Katrina Tulloch), Julie (Rocco) Arcuri, Earl Daniel Strodel, Truman Strodel, Cory O’Connor, Perri O’Connor and Sean Cappuccilli; nine great grandchildren; as well as more nieces, nephews, cousins and friends than could fit on one page.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday, April 12th from 3 to 7pm at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church, Skaneateles. A funeral mass will be held at church on Friday, April 13th at 10am. Burial in St. Mary’s cemetery will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to St. Mary’s of the Lake in Skaneateles or St. Lucy’s in Syracuse. To send condolences visit: robertdgrayfuneralhome.com.