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Claudio Capasso

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ASHEVILLE - Claudio Capasso, 84, resident of Deerfield Episcopal Community in Asheville, N.C., died after a short illness on June 1, at the London Clinic in London, England. He had recently moved to Asheville from London where he had lived for many years. He had a valiant life, full of grace, dignity and humor and an incredible optimism that was contagious. The son of Vittorio Capasso, an Italian diplomat of ancient and noble Roman heritage, Claudio was born in Thessaloniki, Greece where his father was posted at the time. He grew up in Lebanon, Morocco, and Italy.

Claudio studied at Harvard University and the State University of Rome where he received his Law and PhD. degrees. He spoke Italian, French, English and Spanish fluently and also was conversant in Portugese, Greek, and Arabic.

His working life was spent in South America, North America and Europe with companies such as IBM and EXXON. During the 1970's, a time when international corporations were plagued by kidnappings and violent threats he successfully negotiated the release, in Argentina, of a kidnapped Exxon executive who had been held captive for five months. This resulted in the executive victim's freedom after the payment of $14.2 million ransom to the kidnappers. This action was the subject of a front page article in the Wall Street Journal printed on December 2, 1983.

After his retirement from Exxon, he worked as a consultant for several American corporations including, Anheuser-Busch, and Monsanto. He also did voice-over translations for the BBC in the U.K. He was a contributing writer for the Economist Magazine.

While living in London, he enjoyed membership in the Arts Club and was a member of the Sloane Club. In Asheville he was a member of the Biltmore Forest Country Club.

He is survived by his loving wife, Lois; his son, Patrizio by his late wife, Suzanna; his brother, Romano of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and two grandchildren, Pier Andrea and Melanie Capasso.

Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on June 26, 2012
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