Cotten Funeral Home

2201 Neuse Blvd, New Bern, NC


Carmine Buscemi

November 14, 1950February 4, 2020
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Carmine “Booboo” Buscemi, age 69, passed away on the morning of Tuesday, February 4, 2020. He died suddenly from a heart attack. He was happy, healthy, and full of life until the very moment of his passing. He did not suffer. At the time of his death, he was doing water aerobics at the local recreation center, because he was committed to self improvement until his last breath. He also liked giving the senior ladies something to look at while they swam.

He leaves his cherished wife of 45 years, Eileen Buscemi, son Eric Buscemi and wife Laurie, who he always called “Doc,” beloved grandchildren Lily and Ryan, older sister Margaret, younger brother Gregory and wife Maureen, brother-in law James and wife Maureen, nieces Rose, Angela, and Dawn, nephews Brian and Jonathan, and more dear friends than is possible to list — because in his mind, he never met a stranger.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Nancy Buscemi. He was also preceded by his brother Anthony, who was awarded a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars while serving with the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War, but made the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed by sniper-fire at only 19 years old, and brother Peter, who died of leukemia when he was 36 years old, despite receiving a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant from Carmine in his time of need.

Carmine was born in Brooklyn, but spent most of his life in Bellerose, New York, where he moved with his family at 10 years old. He later purchased that same home in Bellerose from his parents, and continued living there until 2014, when he and Eileen, both retired, moved to New Bern, North Carolina.

In his senior year of high school, Carmine was forced to take a class in summer school. This inauspicious event marked a turning point in his young life, as Eileen Comer was also taking the same class, and pelted him with spitballs as he slept until gaining his attention. On their first date, he took her on a double-date picnic with Richard Laursen, who would later be the best man at his wedding and remain a lifelong friend. On their second date, Carmine then took Eileen to see a Jimi Hendrix-Janis Joplin-Chambers Brothers concert. Carmine wed Eileen in 1974, and conceived their only child, Eric, in 1980. They owned many wonderful rescue dogs over the years, including Sandy, Noelle, Express, Spunky, and Lucky.

At 18 years old, Carmine crashed his father’s brand new Chevy Nova into a tree. Carmine, who was grief-stricken and drunk from the recent loss of his brother Anthony, was brought to the hospital and read his last rites. Miraculously, he survived. When he was 28 years old, he was gravely injured in a third-rail explosion, when he was working as a NYC transit worker, and spent four months recovering in the hospital. His survival of these incidents, along with other similar incidents — including one that involved a borrowed motorcycle — often led to speculation from family and friends whether he was invincible. Sadly, the existence of this obituary proves that hypothesis incorrect.

Carmine was a devoted family man, and as such, worked as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for almost 30 years. He refused to be defined by his career, but had lasting friendships with many of his patrons and co-workers. The less said about his management, the better.

While reading Hoyle’s Book of Games one day due to boredom, Carmine stumbled onto 4-Way Chess, a variant of chess played with two sets of partners. He was intrigued enough to make a board and pieces, and his curiosity eventually led to a lifelong hobby and the formation of 4-Way Chess clubs in New York, Wilson, North Carolina, and later in his life, New Bern, North Carolina. He played 4-Way Chess with his brothers Peter and Greg, his son, and many of his friends, old and new, from lifelong friend Walter “Wally” Bozenko, who passed away in 2018, to his more recent, but just as dearly loved, friend Ed White.

In 1988, he ran the New York City Marathon with almost no training, simply to prove he could. He succeeded, crossing the finish line in 6:42:15.

He was incredibly active in his retirement, starting a 4-Way Chess Club in New Bern, which continued to grow until his death, joining the New Bern Civitan service organization, and joining many athletic clubs centered around pickleball, tennis, hiking, and kayaking.

Carmine was known for rising early, napping often, wearing tie-dye, telling jokes and riddles, solving puzzles, juggling bowling pins, drinking beer, barbecuing, relaxing in his hammock, rooting for the Giants, Yankees, and Knicks, and singing ‘Henry the Eighth’ off-key. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 5 PM at Cotten Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the New Bern Civitan ramp building fund, a charitable service my father was a member of that builds ramps to make homes wheelchair accessible for the elderly and infirm. Donations may be sent to the Ramp Fund, New Bern Civitan Club, Box 13673, New Bern, North Carolina 28561.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, February 8, 2020


Carmine Buscemi

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tami Sadler

February 17, 2020

Carmine, Eileen and I met in Newcomer's About 6 years ago. When we timed out of our newcomers and went to alumni we lost touch. Until I started working at the theater. They came to every show. . I got hugs when they came in. , hugs at intermission, hugs when they were leaving. Such a great guy. ! I'm so sorry. Eileen. He will be greatly missed.

Gayle and John Mongrandi/Leonti

February 12, 2020

We only met Carmine and Eileen 2 years ago with his sister and brother in law on a cruise but we felt like we knew him forever. He was that guy who made you feel welcome. We will miss him and glad he was apart of our lives, even for a short to time .

Robert Pacilio

February 10, 2020

3,000 miles away in California, I never had the chance to spend much time as an adult with Carmine, but singing with him at our grandmother’s birthday was a highlight. Carmine was always in for fun, and he brought so much joy and enthusiasm to everything with which he was involved. His obituary shows what a colorful and purposeful life well lived...and loved. God Bless the Buscemi Family.

Susan Dillon Reinwald

February 7, 2020

Condolences to the Buscemi family on Carmines passing. Enjoyed meeting him a few years back when we visited family in New Bern. Our Bellerose connection was unbelievable! Such a small world! A true gentleman with a heart of gold. Prayers for his wife and family. Rest In Peace Carmine
Sue and Ed

Tommaso Serra

February 6, 2020

Sometime in life we are fortunate to meet people that just make us feel good to be with them!
Carmine, you were that person to me, always with a smile and cheerful. I will miss you my dear friend.

Alan Marcus

February 6, 2020

Mere words cannot express my sorrow. Everywhere I look I see you.
When you helped me take down half my apple tree. When you helped me get rid of the hornets nest. Watching Yankee games. Giants games. Knicks games. The bike trips. Kayaking together with Lily and Anunciata. The time you talked me into that ill-fated raft trip.
All the paddleball and racquetball.
And those debates we had.p
I can’t believe you’re gone
You were one great friend and an even better person
Love you

Ben St. John

February 6, 2020

Imagine an ebullient, gregarious, engaging personality who gave unstintingly of his time and talent to enrich the lives of the less fortunate among us. That was Carmine, our dear colleague who, as a Civitan, was always there in the time of need. We are deeply saddened by his passing and will miss him greatly.

Barbara McCue

February 6, 2020

Carmine was so SPECIAL with his wonderful smile and warmth. When I was in his presence, I always felt good.
I moved here from Huntington NY which is where Eric and his family live now. On one of my visits to NY, I went into a restaurant in town and I couldn't believe there was Carmine, Eileen and their grandchildren. That was before I knew Eric and his family were moving there.
Carmine played tennis with the New Comers, we all enjoyed him so much.
I don't know words to express the loss and sorrow I feel for anyone who new him but especially Eileen and his family.


February 6, 2020

Hey..Carmine sorry to hear of you leaving this earth..You were a good guy and ill always remember you..Good guy..Hard working..and most of all my dear cousin roseanne.s favorite person in the world..I know you went to be with wally..However..alot of people will miss and cherish the times they spent with.you.
Strenghth to your wife..And look down on My cousin roro and her loving kids..whom you mean so much too...Love Angel and Loraine Umile

Jim McCarty

February 6, 2020

Fidel miisses Baboo....50 years of a great friendship....the capers we pulled...the adventures we shared...the ridiculous things we did... so many memories and all of them good....am still in shock...Am so sorry Eileen.... Will make a donation to his project