Felix J. Bucci III, 51, devoted to family, playing basketball

December 23, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Felix J. Bucci III had three passions: his family, endless conversation and pickup basketball games.

"He couldn't resist any of them, but his son and basketball were real special to him. He always wanted to play," said his wife, the former Sharon Toth, whom he married in 1981. "And he always wanted to be with his son."

Mr. Bucci, 51, of White Marsh was killed late Saturday when he and his 8-year-old son, Christopher, were struck by a car as they tried to cross Philadelphia Road near Middle River after leaving a convenience store.

Mr. Bucci died soon after at Franklin Square Hospital Center. Christopher was treated at the hospital for a broken leg and released. No charges have been filed against the motorist.

Mr. Bucci and his son were together much of the time and had recently decorated their home for Christmas, friends and family said. Both father and son were excited about the holiday.

"The last thing he did was give me some money and say, 'I want you to buy something special for Chris so I can give it to him,' " his wife said. "He said, 'This is going to be a good Christmas.' "

A native of Baltimore, Mr. Bucci was raised in Little Italy in East Baltimore and graduated from Patterson High School in 1965. He received a basketball scholarship from the University of Baltimore and graduated in 1969 with an accounting degree.

He worked briefly as an accountant before entering the construction trade, his wife said. He worked in construction since the early 1970s and was a concrete finisher for Atlas Concrete and Paving Co. in Baltimore since the mid-1970s.

Friends and neighbors said Mr. Bucci was popular in his townhouse community of White Marsh, often playing kickball with youngsters on the front sidewalk or joking with their parents on porches.

"He was always a lot of fun, always friendly. Everybody knew him, he was like one of the kids," said Phyllis Besold, a neighbor.

Basketball was always his interest. Although he was only 5 feet 10 inches tall, he was extremely quick, a good ball handler and a dogged defender, said Paul Baker, his friend and coach at the University of Baltimore.

On summer nights, he played on a playground near his home and in a nearby school gym when it was cold.

"He always wanted to play and never stop. We all got tired, but he never did," said Roy Themels, who played with and against Mr. Bucci for the past five years.

"He kept saying, 'I can't wait until Chris gets a little older so I can teach him how to play basketball,' " his wife said.

Mrs. Bucci said she, too, was an occasional basketball partner of her husband. "But only when he couldn't find anybody else," she said.

A Mass of Christian burial is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at St. Leo's Roman Catholic Church, 227 S. Exeter St.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Bucci is survived by a daughter, Laurie Bucci of Kingsville; and two sisters, Rita Pulaski of Perry Hall and Theresa Leone of Dundalk.

Pub Date: 12/23/97

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