April 27, 1934 - September 19, 2021
NY MILLS - “Hank” Mancini was born Henry Joseph Mancini on April 27, 1934 to Joseph and Mary (Lubertine) Manch in Utica, NY. Henry’s father Joe, and businessmen uncles who ran a summer resort in Keene, New Hampshire, changed their surname from Mancini to Manch sometime afterward. Nonetheless, a quick lookup of “Mancini family” on Wikipedia proves true to his ancestry why Henry enjoyed those old Roman movies so much! Henry lived a typical East Utica life: delivering newspapers, riding bicycles, swimming at Power Dam, jumping from two story house roofs into snowbanks, and even building a winning Soap Box Derby car from one of his mother’s ironing boards! Henry developed lifelong friendships in that Blandina Street neighborhood including his deep friendship with Frank Giruzzi, Esq., lasting to this day. Henry had three early loves – hunting, fishing, and aviation and he pursued all of them at one point or another in his life. Henry could vividly recall his elementary school days at Roscoe Conkling and teachers who liked him very much, and others who didn’t. He excelled at T.R. Proctor High School and was a straight A+ student. He worked construction on many portions of the then “new” NYS Thruway between college years. One chance meeting of a young nurse co-worker of his sister Mary, when, after a day on the construction job with Henry, barely lifting his exhausted head to say ”hello”, would eventually lead him to a family of his own. Originally wanting to follow his father’s footsteps as a machinist, Henry’s love of aviation would instead lead him to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he would obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1956. He would later supplement that with a Master’s degree in Engineering Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1976. In typical Henry fashion as one not to waste time, he would marry that young, attractive nurse Dolores “Honey” Malerba in 1955 and start a family a year later, all while still in college. Henry had ambitions to fly fighter jets so while at Rensselaer he served his country as a cadet in the Air Force Officer Reserves. While his ambitions to fly for the Air Force were not fulfilled, Henry remained as close to the action as he could during the golden age of jet aviation as an aeronautical engineer for the North American Aviation Company in Columbus, Ohio, the company that built the P-51 Mustangs of WWII, the Saber Jets of the Korean War, and ultimately America’s space shuttles. But Henry would eventually take flight. Saving up enough extra money after paying the expenses for the little apartment he, Dolores, and infant Susan occupied in Columbus, he took flying lessons and quickly soloed. He always recalled how flat Ohio was, especially from the air. Henry, Dolores, and Susan returned to Central New York by 1960 where he took employment with Bendix Aviation. Henry was regarded by others as a consummate engineer as he loved the challenge of solving real world engineering problems. Rome Laboratory (then RADC) would soon come calling with some exotic Cold War era programs where Henry would embark on a 20-year career as their first aeronautical engineer on staff. Still having a hand in aviation, Henry would thereafter wind up his career with 13 years as an airborne radar engineer for General Electric Aerospace, retiring in 1993. Henry was a family man who loved to show his children his ideas of fun at their family’s home in the Blitzen Circle neighborhood where so many families were getting their start raising children and building homes of their own. Neither Henry nor his children Susan, Diane, Joe, and Joanne ever lacked for things to do or friends to do it with. Henry had his children tobogganing almost as soon as possible after they could walk. He built ice skating rinks in the backyard. Among his favorite traditions was to hollow out igloos in the high snow drifts in the yard, prevalent in those hard winters of years past, to have family cookouts inside. Henry would go on to continue this tradition with his grandchildren. Before long, Henry had his entire family on downhill skis and ensured everyone had a season’s pass at places like Woods Valley and Snow Ridge. He could be a daredevil. On one outing to Whiteface Mountain Henry skied down from the ice-covered peak trail while his son Joe, thinking the wiser in contrast, took his skis off and walked down. Henry rode motorcycles, snowmobiles, and of course, even dirt bikes. Nothing topped summers at his family’s camp on the Thousand Islands, where naturally he provided fishing poles for each of his children and had them catching fish in no time, in addition to generally having fun-filled summers swimming and boating. In the off-seasons Henry loved to do some not-so-serious fishing with his brother-in-law Mike Labella on the St. Lawrence River. At home Henry enjoyed hunting and fishing with his good neighbors Joseph Urban and Tony Mastronicola, sharing home construction ideas with Joe Miller, motorcycle rides to Eddies in Sylvan Beach with Roger Czypruna, road trips with Stanley Adamczyk that occasionally led to mischief, and of course countless tennis matches with next door neighbor Chester Urbanczyck. You could always count on Henry to help out a neighbor without needing to be asked; he would just show up and roll up his sleeves. He always said he was no different in this sense from the examples set for him growing up, not only by his own father, but by every father on Blandina Street. In his retirement years he and Dolores travelled to many corners of the globe, something he always wanted to finally do for pleasure instead of for work. When their globetrotting days waned, Henry and Dolores returned to showing their children and grandchildren fun with many, many cruises and other wonderful vacations. Henry would continue to enjoy his children and their families in the later years too, all the while terribly missing his wife Dolores doing the same with him. Henry is survived by his children Susan Connell of Greenback, Tennessee, Diane Ford of Boonville, Joseph Mancini of Barneveld, and Joanne Steffen and son-in-law Preston Steffen of Holland Patent; his grandchildren, who affectionately called him “Papa”, Teresa DeLaurentiis Burdick (William), Christopher Ford, Patrick Connell, Jennifer Vece (David), Kathryn Ford and fiancé Miguel Medrano, Ian Mancini, Samuel Steffen, Joy Plummer (Ryan), and Joel Steffen; and his 5 great-grandchildren. Henry was predeceased by his father Joseph in 1954, his mother Mary in 2001, his sister Lenore in 2009, his sister Mary in 2015, his beloved wife Dolores in 2016, and his grandson Brian in 1996. Those wishing to do so may make a memorial donation in Henry’s name to one of his favorite charities to which he donated generously, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital online at https://www.stjude.org and Mother Marianne's West Side Kitchen at St. Joseph & St. Patrick Church online at https://mmwsk.org. His family wishes to thank the Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. of CNY staff for their compassionate care and guidance, Dr. Sam Gooldy, Tatiana Ferrone and her Band of Angels, and Chris Pry, his first home care nurse. Thanks to all of their wonderful care, Henry and his family had the opportunity to share months of precious time together and express their farewells at home. Henry’s family would also like to sincerely thank his wonderful neighbors Patricia Urban, Wendy Luton, and David and Donna Moulton who always checked in to see if Henry was “okay” after Dolores’ passing through to the present day. The family will honor and commemorate Henry’s life at a private time. This life tribute was affectionately composed by Henry’s family.
NY MILLS - “Hank” Mancini was born Henry Joseph Mancini on April 27, 1934 to Joseph and Mary (Lubertine) Manch in Utica, NY. Henry’s father Joe, and businessmen uncles who ran a summer resort in Keene, New Hampshire, changed... View Obituary & Service Information
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