SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Billy Fuccillo, the auto dealership owner whose television commercials and “huge” catchphrase made him a household name, has died after a long illness, his family attorney confirms to NewsChannel 9.
According to attorney Robert Scalione, Fuccillo died Thursday in Sarasota, Florida at the age of 65.
Fuccillo is best known for his energetic television appearances in the communities where he owns dealerships, but he’s been honored for his philanthropy over the years.
Scalione said, “Billy was a giant in the auto industry. He also did a lot of good things for people, and felt good when he was able to change people’s lives.” He added Fuccillo never wanted recognition for his generosity.
In an interview with NewsChannel 9, Catherine James, the CEO of the Central New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, remembered Fuccillo for his generosity to her organization.
James recalled a charity event where, in front of hundreds of people, Fuccillo asked her fundraising goal. She responded, “$50,000.” He offered to match it — and did.
Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick has fond memories golfing with Fuccillo, but recalled Friday when Billy donated $10,000 to a group working to install a monument to fallen police officers in Downtown Syracuse.
In January, Fuccillo sold five dealerships in the Syracuse and Rochester areas to Matthews Auto Group out of Vestal, including the former Fuccillo Kia and Nissan dealerships in Clay and the former Fuccillo Hyundai in Syracuse.
The Fuccillo Automotive Group still has 20 locations across Upstate New York: Watertown, Adams, Seneca Falls, Amsterdam, Schenectady, Latham, East Greenbush, Neliston, Niskayuna, and Grand Island.
Unconfirmed reports of his death spread across social media Friday morning.
Billy is survived by his son, Billy Jr.
Fuccillo was born on Long Island. He moved to Central New York as a student of Syracuse University.
A spokesperson for the Thomas J. Pirro Jr. Funeral Home tells NewsChannel 9 that Fuccillo’s calling hours will be held Thursday, June 24 from 3pm to 7pm at the funeral home (3401 Vickery Road, North Syracuse). A mass will be held Friday, June 25, at 11am at Our Lady of Pompei Catholic Church (301 Ash Street, Syracuse).