Gilford, NH — Samuel W. Petrucci, 86, a resident of both Gilford, N.H., and Fort Pierce Fla., died Friday, September 27, 2013, in Scranton, Pa., unexpectedly from natural causes.
Born on December 22, 1926, Sam grew up in Medford Mass., and was the son of Salvatore Petrucci and Mary Dunn. He lived a long and colorful life, regaling his friends and family with his many claims to fame. As a teenager, he worked as a bellhop at the Ritz Carlton in Boston, where he carried telegrams to Eleanor Roosevelt, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Boris Karloff. At age 16, he joined the Navy and was the best radio operator on the USS Willard Keith. After the war, Sam studied art at Vesper George, and went on to become a successful commercial illustrator, package designer and airbrush artist. Sam’s career spanned six decades. One of his earliest clients was the Hassenfeld Brothers Toy Co., for whom he illustrated many game and toy packages including Mr. Potato Head, and the Superman, Mighty Hercules, and The Banana Splits board games. Most significantly, he designed the original logo and boxes for Hasbro’s GI Joe line of toys. In recent years, he took great pleasure in being a special guest at GI Joe conventions where he signed autographs and met his many fans. In the late 1960s and 70s, he worked on the team yearbooks for the Red Sox and for the Boston Bruins. Later, Sam was employed by the prestigious Gunn Associates in Boston, where he designed packaging for many well-known companies and products including, Charleston Chew, Ocean Spray, Very Fine Fruit Juices, Gillette, Newport Cigarettes, Titleist, Marshmallow Fluff, Converse Sneakers, Polaroid, T.J. Maxx, Prince Spaghetti, Salada Tea, Dennison, Bose, BASF, World Wildlife Fund, and countless others. He often used himself, as well as his children and grandchildren, as models for his illustrations. There’s even a Lassie lunchbox that he designed in the Smithsonian Institute.
Sam was a voracious reader, and enjoyed golfing with his buddies, fishing with his grandchildren, nature photography, alligator hunting, and painting wildlife and landscapes in oils. He was a member of the Vero Beach Art Club. Back in the day, he was a regular at The Bayside and The Esquire bars in Revere. Sam personally designed the family home at Lake Shore Park on Lake Winnepesaukee, and was admired for his countless talents. As he often pointed out to everybody, Sam was “The Best” at anything he chose to do.
Sam was married to his beloved Leona Petrucci, who passed away in 2008, and is survived by his children and their spouses, Maureen Beaupre of Fernandina Beach, Fla., Ken Petrucci of Newburyport, Mass., Lisa Petrucci of Seattle, Wash., Linda Petrucci of New York, N.Y., and Steven Petrucci of Peabody, Mass.; and numerous grand and great-grandchildren. The Sambuca di Amore liquor company will also mourn his passing.
ARRANGEMENTS: A memorial service to honor Sam will be held at a future date.
He enjoyed watching the manatees swim around Fort Pierce, so memorial contributions may be left in his name to The Manatee Observation and Education Center, 480 N. Indian River Drive, Fort Pierce, FL 34950, or www.manateecenter.com/index.php/support.