John Celestino recalled as community minded newspaper leader


Whenever he needed help promoting his family’s annual Coats for Kids campaign, Russ Petrozzi knew he could always count on John Celestino to lend a hand.

The owner of Capital Cleaners, whose father Joe Petrozzi started the annual campaign to provide gently used coats to needy children in the Niagara Falls area decades ago, said the former Niagara Gazette and Lockport Union-Sun & Journal publisher never hesitated to support the local effort.

“He was always on the run from here to there and everywhere, but when it came time to help somebody, especially Coats for Kids, he always took the time,” Petrozzi said. “He helped me immensely with Coats for Kids. He was always concerned about helping me make it a success for the kids.”

Petrozzi said he was “totally devastated” to learn over the weekend about Celestino’s death on Friday at age 63.

He said Celestino was a regular customer at his company’s Lewiston location. Over the years, Petrozzi said he and his staff came to know him as more than a newspaper publisher and more like a friend.

“He was always concerned and tried to make Niagara Falls a better place,” Petrozzi said. “Everyone I know respected him and liked him and he’s going to be sorely missed by everyone.”

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