April 7, 2007 by

Michael Pellegrino

3 comments

Categories: Business

Michael A. Pellegrino, a reputable New York funeral director, committed suicide on April 5. He was 45.
The Buffalo, N.Y., native graduated from the Simmons School of Funeral Services and became a full-time mortician. He owned Perna-Pellegrino funeral homes in Buffalo and Amherst, N.Y., and North Buffalo Monuments. Pellegrino was president of the Erie-Niagara Funeral Directors Association and a member of the New York State Funeral Directors Association. Married for 21 years and the father of three, he was described by colleagues and friends as “a gentleman,” “always upbeat” and “a well-respected businessman.”
On the morning of April 5, Pellegrino walked into the Seneca Niagara Casino, strode to a blackjack table and spoke briefly with the dealer. Witnesses say he then pulled a 9 mm handgun from his coat and shot himself in the chest. Pellegrino was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center where he died an hour later.
Although he was still married to Connie Perna Pellegrino, daughter of retired funeral director Frank Perna, the couple was estranged. According to court records, Connie filed for divorce last October when she learned he was having an affair with a female blackjack dealer at the casino. Police say Pellegrino was involved with the dealer for four years, and that they had an argument on the day of his death.
Pellegrino did not leave behind a suicide note, but his friends say he was heavily in debt due to the costly legal battle with wife, the building of his Buffalo funeral home and his gambling habits. A high roller who suffered heavy losses, Pellegrino was no longer allowed to bet at his mistress’ table, however the casino gave him free use of one of the largest suites in its new four-star hotel. Casino officials would not release information about how much money Pellegrino had lost.

3 Responses to Michael Pellegrino

  1. luke

    i knew this man, he was my mothers future fiance, we all loved him, it wasent the arguement that made mike kill himself, it was the debt and stress, dont think for one minute that it was my mothers fault because it was quite hte opposite.

  2. monica

    This was an incredible man of purpose and objective. I have known he and his beloved wife Connie for 20 years.
    He was in place to help us with the repose of several family members. We have memories of many vacations, Halloween walks through Kenmore and Amherst, and countless dinners at Damons, and at each other’s homes.
    This was a dear friend who clearly lost his way for whatever reason. We love you Mike, and we wish you a rest in peace.
    God Bless Connie, Bri and Kris.
    Mike loved all of you deeply.

  3. jennifer

    Mike and Connie were a beautiful couple with beautiful children. My heart still breaks for the children.
    God bless you Connie and kids

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