Peter Castronovo, a long-time employee in UR’s Department of Environmental Health & Safety, passed away at the age of 65 on May 15.
Husband to Sharon Castronovo and father to Nicole and Justin Castronovo, Castronovo had worked at UR since 1985 as a Senior Sanitarian and Pest Control Manager. He also earned his Master’s in Public Health at SUNY Brockport while working at the University.
Castronovo was said to be a “leader in his field” by Mark Cavanaugh, the Director of the Department of Environmental Health and Services (EH&S).
When Cavanaugh first started his job at the university in 1997, he described Castronovo as personally inviting and professionally dedicated.
“[Castronovo] loved the university and loved his job,” Cavanaugh said. “He was interested in making sure we had the best facilities anywhere.” The well-known Quad Fox was kept safe and treated under Castronovo’s care, Cavanaugh said. Castronovo found medicine to treat the fox, and encouraged students to stay away, for their own safety as well as the fox’s.
Castronovo was also known for his ingenuity. Cavanaugh gave one example of Castronovo’s problem solving that happened during the M&T Bank Clothesline Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery. As the festival is held outside, there was a fear that wasps would ruin the fun for the participants. But Castronovo was able to distract the wasps by bringing orange soda and pouring it into a container.
Outside of his work at the University, Castronovo often spent time outdoors. An avid hunter, he was known for loving sports, especially hockey and softball. But one of Cavanaugh’s best memories of Castronovo is about golf.
“Once a year, we’d have our department picnics,” Cavanaugh said. “We would take a chipping wedge out, or a pitching wedge, and we would think of targets to hit — like the base of a tree or something — and see who came closest.”
“That’s the fond memory I have [of him] — just the fun we had trying to beat each other in a [golf] shot,” Cavanaugh said.
Due to COVID-19, a memorial service isn’t yet scheduled for Castronovo. However, his family has made a page to send condolences and plant memorial trees in Castronovo’s name and memory.