Henry Bucci, who fought Parkinson’s disease for 36 years and inspired others through his devotion to family and the community, died Friday at his home in Wells. He was 71.

Mr. Bucci was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s in 1981. At the time, he was 38, married and had two children. He worked as a traffic supervisor at Data General, a computer manufacturer in Portsmouth N.H., where he managed the shipping and receiving department. As the Parkinson’s progressed and he could no longer work, he went on disability.

From then on, he dedicated his life to family and community. His wife, Diane Bucci, said he was determined not to let his Parkinson’s beat him.

“He kept going forward the best he could,” she said. “He was amazing. I think it had a lot to do with his personality and outlook on life. He was always thinking positive. He would always make jokes about everything, including himself.”

When Mr. Bucci stopped working, he became more active in his two children’s lives. He attended their school activities and athletic events. John Bucci of Wells said his father was supportive and encouraging, yet didn’t push them in any direction.

“He had so much taken away from him physically, but he was always optimistic,” his son said, recalling his father’s words. “ ‘It didn’t matter what I lost, look at what I have.’ He would kind of impress that on people. You have this gift – use it. He just believed in people.”

Mr. Bucci was active at the Wells/Ogunquit Senior Center, where he enjoyed playing Scrabble. He volunteered at a soup kitchen previously located at Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church. He was also a greeter for the church’s weekly spaghetti lunch. His wife said it was the perfect job for him.

“It’s who he was. He would make people laugh and talk to them and listen to them,” she said.
Mr. Bucci and his wife were married for 45 years. On Monday afternoon, she recalled the day they met.

His car broke down and he joined her carpool to get to work in Worcester, Mass. The couple lived in their hometown of Milford, Mass., for 10 years before moving to Wells in 1978.

Around the same time, Mr. Bucci began to show his first symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In his early years, he enjoyed playing tennis, fishing and photography. He also loved to read. Toward the end of his life, he struggled to focus on the words, his walking became limited and his memory was diminished.

“I’m sad. I’m going to miss him terrible,” his wife said. “I was with him all the time. It’s going to be a completely different world. I’m not going to know what to do with myself. I’m glad that he doesn’t have to struggle anymore.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:
mcreamer@pressherald.com