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John S. Capocefalo

MARCELLUS — John S. Capocefalo, 96, of Marcellus, formerly of Auburn, died after a brief illness on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Syracuse. He was born in Syracuse on Sept. 20, 1921 and relocated to Auburn upon the completion of his military service during World War II. John was a combat veteran of the United States Navy. He served in the Legendary 7th Fleet aboard the destroyer tender USS Yosemite as a First Class Petty Officer. At the end of the war, he traveled with the fleet to witness the Emperor of Japan surrender to victorious U.S. forces in Tokyo Bay.

John and his brother, Edward, founded Auburn Armature Company in 1946. AAI grew from two brothers repairing toasters and irons on Perrine Street to become a major employer in the Auburn area. He also purchased and ran the Syracuse Square Electric Company of Syracuse with his nephew, Thomas Capocefalo.

John has been described as “a force of nature.” His business interests reflected his broad vision and great energy. He built and sold houses in the Auburn area for a number of years and was affiliated with his brother, Edward, in the Tompkins Fabric Company of Syracuse and Auburn. Along with his partner, Angelo “Mac” Capozzi, he formed the CoCap Development Corporation which brought the Walmart Supercenter to the property John owned on Grant Avenue in Auburn. Walmart has been one of the biggest taxpayers in the city of Auburn for decades.

John was blessed with good health until the last few weeks of his life. He loved boating and for many years maintained a summer residence on Wellesley Island in the Thousand Islands. He especially enjoyed helping people. In his final years, he remained actively involved with his longtime companion, Dr. Mary McLaughlin, in her work assisting chronically homeless, disabled individuals in the central New York area, especially disabled veterans. John was a member of the Board of Advisors for the nonprofit organization formed to support her work, Cape Haven Inc., which was named after him. “Cape” is a verbal nod to “Capocefalo.”

John is survived by his son, Michael Capocefalo (Mary); daughters, Judy Adams (Dean Kipp), Diane Paquette, Dr. Suzanne DeBauche, and Lynda Capocefalo Paladino (Victor); six grandchildren, Nicole Paquette Flaitz (Eric), Michelle Jean Capocefalo, Anna Rose Capocefalo Upton (Daniel), Toly Capocefalo (Lauren Porter), Allegra DeBauche, and Zachery DeBauche; four great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his longtime companion, Mary, and her son, Mark Parmelee (Megan), and her four grandchildren, Christopher, Cameron, Carsyn, and Colby Parmelee.

John was predeceased by his parents, Edward and Antionette (Fazio) Capocefalo; his wife, Rose (LaNeve); his son, John Jr. (Chris); his two brothers, Edward A. and Robert S. Capocefalo, and his grandson, Joshua R. Paquette.

A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 5, 2018, in St. Francis of Assisi Church, 299 Clark St., Auburn. Friends are invited to attend.

Donations in John’s memory may be made to Cape Haven Inc., P.O. Box 864, Auburn, NY 13021 or via Paypal at

Arrangements are by Cheche Funeral Home Inc., Auburn.

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