Saturday, January 1, 2011

Longtime Vernon Downs Horseman Manzi Passes Away

Noted Vernon Downs horseman Rocco Frank Manzi, 59, passed away peacefully at his home in Oneida on Thursday (Dec. 30, 2010) with his family and friends at his side.

Born on April 4, 1951 in Syracuse, Rocco was the first of Frank J. and Jennie (Alba) Manzi’s eight children.

He went on to become president and chief executive officer of Syracuse’s Yellow Cab taxi and Century Transportation companies.

In addition to his primary occupation, Manzi was also a successful Standardbred owner (a total of 81 horses since 1984) and trainer (with total earnings of more than $678,000 from 1992-2004), based at Vernon Downs.

A longtime member of the Harness Horse Association of Central New York, and the United States Trotting Association, Rocco continued to own harness horses after retiring from the training ranks.

Some of his more prominent horses included Sea Special, Kings and Queens, The Best, Proud American, Delightful Dancer and Touch Of The Past, among others.

In addition to his racehorse involvement, Manzi enjoyed spending time with his beloved grandchildren Dennis, Sierra and Lauren, especially at the family’s summer camp.

Predeceased by his parents, Rocco is survived by his wife of 37 years, Ermilinda (Mussi) of Oneida, and his son Patrick (Jamie) Manzi.

He also leaves behind his siblings Frank J. (Diane) Manzi II, Floreen (Andrew) Pollastro, Anne (Ricky) Reagan, Robert Manzi, David Manzi, Paul Manzi and Laurie (Manzi) Keeling, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Family and friends are invited to call at the Malecki Funeral Home Inc., 464 Sherrill Rd., Sherrill on Tuesday (Jan. 4) from 3-8 p.m.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday (Jan. 5) at 10:30 a.m. in the funeral home.

Entombment will be in Our Lady-Peace Cemetery, 8668 Oswego Road, Baldwinsville, NY, 13027.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations are made to Hospice of Central New York.