Gerald A. “Biff” DiCaprio
September 17, 1936 – March 31, 2018
Gerald A. “Biff” DiCaprio, 81, died Holy Saturday morning at Francis House after a courageous battle with cancer. Biff, as he was known to family and friends, grew up on Syracuse's Northside, the youngest of 5 boys born to the late Antonio and Louise (Companion) DiCaprio. A real scrapper when he was growing up, his nickname was given to him by his brothers and was taken from fist fight action comic scenes illustrated with Biff! Bam! Boom! But, all who knew him, from the staff at his doctors' offices who he brought treats to at every appointment to the deli workers at Wegmans, knew him as a warm and generous man who always had a kind word, a joke and an infectious enthusiasm for life. His stepdaughters knew him as an exceptional Dad who worked hard to provide for his family and who could always be counted on through the years for whatever was needed!
A graduate of North High School where he was a star football player, Biff will be fondly remembered as the one time proprietor of the Cozy Retreat Soda Shop on Park St., a popular “hang out” for high school kids with the best ever lemon ice and homemade ice cream. He served his country when he was called to active duty and deployed to Stuttgart, Germany in 1961 with the 108th AC&W Flight New York National Guard during the Berlin Wall Crisis. Ever the entrepreneur, years later, he established Biff's Convenience Store on Wolf St. where he doted on the neighborhood kids especially those who needed help. Blessed with charisma and charm, he had an impact even on strangers wherever he went. After a long career with the NYS Department of Transportation, he retired as Highway Maintenance Supervisor in 1992. But after a serious heart attack, he became a volunteer for more than 18 years at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center, whose staff, he felt, had saved his life. His later years brought more health challenges, and though he had great difficulty walking, he insisted on remaining independent as long as he could and until he was met with the last and most formidable disease that befalls so many. After many rounds of chemo, he seemed to accept his last journey and went peacefully to be with the Lord and his deceased loved ones.
Besides his late parents, Biff was predeceased by his brothers, Eugene, Donald, Gordon and his beautiful Irish Setter and faithful companion, Blaze. He leaves to cherish his memory his brother, Anthony J. (Lee); former wife and caregiver, Gilda DiCaprio (Emmediato); stepdaughters Joey Nigro-Nilsen (John Nilsen), Amelia Nigro (Joe Oppedisano), Lucia Maloof (James) and Chele Stirpe (Al); grandchildren Gina Michelin (Peter), Stefane McElhaney, Paul Oppedisano (Lisa), Christopher Dunham (Corey), Jesseca Dunham, Zachary Maloof, Kyanna Grass (Peter), Jona Palmer (Skyler) and Alexandra Stirpe; 9 great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to call at Carter Funeral Home 1604 Grant Blvd. on Wednesday, April 4th, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. A memorial service will follow at 6:00 pm at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to either Francis House where he received wonderful and heartfelt care from staff and volunteers, 108 Michaels Ave., Syracuse, NY 13208 or CNY Cat Coalition, P.O. Box 6182, Syracuse, NY 13217, an organization he actively supported from its infancy.