Claudio Francesco Macree

CAMERON -- Claudio Francesco Macree, 78, of Cameron, died peacefully Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2017. A memorial service to commemorate his life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Dukes-Harley Funeral Home Chapel in Orangeburg.

Claudio was born in 1939 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the Italian invasion of that country. He returned to Rome at the outbreak of World War II and witnessed much during those years, including -- happily, he said -- Americans parading through Rome and handing out chocolate bars to hungry children.

In 1949, he came to America and, like many of his generation, joined the U.S. Navy when he came of age. Of his Navy years, he liked to say that his adventures occurred not on the high seas but while herding fellow sailors back to ship after they'd misbehaved onshore. After the Navy, he became an engineer and -- with just a drafting table, a piece of graph paper and a T-square -- invented many wonderful tools for Smith Corona and Utica Tool.

In life, he was prankster with an endless supply of gags and an endlessly inventive mind for deploying them. He also loved to lend a hand to help out his neighbors. But his biggest passion in life was restoring cars and painting them red because, he said, if he kept painting cars red, one day he would finally hit upon the exact right red for a car.

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Claudio was predeceased by his parents, Alberto and Carmen Leonardi Macree, and is survived by his wife, Michelle Thomas Macree. Michelle and his children and grandchildren will miss him and his pranks and witticisms, hijinks, puns and gags dearly.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.dukesharleyfuneralhome.com.

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