Rocco F. Giruzzi, Jr.

November 30, 1936 ~ May 10, 2020 (age 83)


Mr. Rocco F. Giruzzi, Jr, 83, passed away with loved ones by his side, after a two year battle with cancer, on Sunday, May 10, 2020, in St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

Rock was born in Utica on November 30, 1936, a son of the late Rocco F. Sr. and Carmella (Mancuso) Giruzzi. He was educated in local schools and a 1954 graduate of TR Proctor High School. Rock excelled as an athlete and played on the Proctor Panther's basketball and football teams. He later went on to attend the Albany College of Pharmacy and captained the ACP basketball team. He graduated in 1958.

Following college, Rock served our country as a Captain in the US Army Reserve.

On November 5, 1960, Rocco was joined in marriage to the love of his life, the former Mary Ann Hobaica. Rock and Mary Ann would have celebrated their 60th anniversary this November. Always a close and loving couple, they were very rarely apart. They loved to travel to Florida, to their winter home, and to socialize with family and friends. When attending social gatherings, you could always admire watching them light up the dance floor.

Rock began his work career at Dardano's Pharmacy in the 1960's. He went on to open Fort Schuyler Drug Co. on Bleecker and Mohawk Streets and later purchased Emdin's Pharmacy in the King Cole Plaza, which he ran for over 30 years, retiring in 1991.

Rock stayed active in the pharmacy world, where he was past president and chair of PSSNY; a board member of NYS Board of Pharmacy; served as a trustee of Albany College of Pharmacy; Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of New York State; served two terms as President of the Mohawk Valley Pharmacists Society; and served as a board member of the NYS Board of Pharmacy. He served on the parish council of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and was past-president of the Utica School Board. In May of 2019, Rocco received the Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Science, he was also the recipient of the Bowl of Hygieia Award, the highest honor awarded to a Pharmacist. Rocco was inducted in the Albany College of Pharmacy Hall of Fame for Basketball in 1981.

Always very family oriented, Rock loved to keep family traditions alive. He was well known for making sausage in the oil, baccala at Christmas, and tripe from the family recipe from Giruzzi's Restaurant on Mohawk and Lansing Streets. Always very memorable was Rock and MaryAnn's trip to Italy, to visit his family's roots. A bit of a "packrat", Rock saved everything and could always go to his basement and come up with memorabilia from family photos to wines, and liqueurs and collectables from pens to wine glasses, not only from the family business, but, from many businesses in the area.

He was an avid golfer, and enjoyed playing at the Yahnundasis Golf and Country Club in New Hartford and the Sugar Mill Country Club in Florida. Rock also enjoyed getting together with family and friends for coffee in the morning in Florida, as well as Domenico's in Utica, for his daily Democratic briefings.

He is survived by his beloved MaryAnn; son, Rocco Giruzzi III and his wife, Laura of Rochester; daughter, Pamela Zegarelli of Marcy; son, William "Billy" Giruzzi and his wife, Lisa of Albany; grandchildren, Dr. Nicholas Giruzzi and his wife, Dr. Megan Giruzzi, and Christopher Giruzzi, Zachary Zegarelli and Dr. Carly Zegarelli, and their father, Frank Zegarelli; one great grandchild, Alayna Giruzzi; his sister, Kathleen "Kay" Arcuri, with whom he always shared a special bond; two sisters-in-law, Doris Hobaica and Nancy Cordovani; brother-in-law, Fred Schwenzfeier; and also many nieces and nephews, great nieces, great nephews, cousins and friends, too numerous to mention.

He was predeceased by a son, Nicholas F. Giruzzi; his in-laws, Moses and Helen (George) Hobaica; his in-laws, Bruno Arcuri, Robert Hobaica, Elaine Schwenzfeier, and Al Cordovani; and a special nephew, Michael J. Arcuri. Due to the current health concerns and keeping within CDC guidelines, Rock's family honored him privately and he was laid to rest with his beloved parents at St. Agnes Cemetery.

A Mass of Christian Burial with Military Honors and celebration of Rock's life will be held on Friday, August 28, 2020, at 11 a.m., at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel/Blessed Sacrament Parish. The church will be operating at a limited capacity. All attendees must wear face masks, social distance and sign attendance sheets.

During this very difficult time in our country and community, we urge family and friends to leave a message of sympathy by clicking the link above which will be a great source of comfort to the family.

The family would like to offer their heartfelt thanks to the many doctors and caregivers at MVHS and Bassett Hospital, as well as, friends who have helped during Rock's illness, especially longtime friends Dick Presky and Dick Chancia; and also a special thank you to his godchild, Rocco and his wife, Vicci Arcuri, for all their love and support during this very difficult time. Rock was especially blessed to have his daughter, Pam, comfort and attend to him during his illness.

In memory of Rocco Giruzzi, please consider donations to the Dr. Rocco F. Giruzzi Jr. `58 Endowed Scholarship Fund at Albany College of Pharmacy. Donations can be sent c/o Vicki DiLorenzo, ACPHS, 106 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208. Scholarships will be awarded annually to academically qualified students pursuing the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, while in the professional years (P1-P4) on the Albany Campus, with demonstrated financial need.

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Dr. Rocco F. Giruzzi Jr. '58 Endowed Scholarship Fund at Albany College of Pharmacy
c/o Vicki DiLorenzo, ACPHS, 106 New Scotland Avenue, Albany NY 12208

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