From Wisconsin to Woodstock, Rome to Rochester, Dominic Puccio has seen and done a great deal in his 77 years. A Rochester resident since 1963, Dominic came to the Flower City from Dallas soon after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. “It’s too hot and everyone has a gun down there,” he said. “It was once 105 degrees for two weeks straight.” The bonafide former hippie and saxophone player said they didn’t like his kind in Texas, where he was once denied service at a gas station for not wearing a shirt.
Soon after that November day of infamy in Dealey Plaza, Dominic headed north to continue his work repairing musical instruments. Incidentally, he took up this profession after working in Rome for two years selling custom-made suits from Hong Kong to members of the US Navy serving on ships in the Mediterranean.
Dominic took a break from his labors in the summer of 1969 to experience Woodstock, going with friends in a VW Beetle. He still has the tickets and pictures of himself with hair down to his waist. “It was no big deal at the time,” he said of the famous mud-filled music festival. “But looking back on it I guess it was.”
Although she didn’t perform, Woodstock conjured memories of Joni Mitchell. He was even inspired to sing a few lyrics from some of her songs on a cold January day in 2015 during a visit from his lifelong friend, Arthur. The two had gone to grade school in Madison, WI, and reconnected years later at the Rochester Folk Art Guild in Middlesex. Dominic was active in the Guild, whose members engage in woodworking, glass blowing and pottery.
Dominic and his wife, Nancy, have been married for 30 years and raised two sons in Rochester. All told, he worked for 50 years repairing musical instruments, 25 of which as the owner of two stores—one in East Rochester and the other in Syracuse—called Muzet. The stores did very well and he and Nancy sold them a few years ago. Not long after, Dominic had a stroke and Nancy could not care for him. She chose St. John’s Home for its high quality of care and proximity to the couple’s home on Highland Avenue.
Asked what the idea to ‘Embrace Living’ means to him, he refers to the philosophy of George Gurdjieff. This spiritual teacher taught that most humans live their lives in a state of hypnotic “waking sleep,” but that it’s possible to transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential. If this sounds interesting, or if you are up for talking about music, politics, the Green Bay Packers, or by chance have a movie he hasn’t seen, stop by and spend some time with this musical man of the world.