George Triffon

Obituary
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TRIFFON--George, 74, passed away on August 7th at Cabrini Hospice Care due to complications from a stroke. He was the only son of Penelope and George Triffon of Port Jefferson, New York. He graduated from Point Jefferson High School. He acquired a commercial pilot's license in the early 1960's and in 1999 graduated "Cum Laude" with a B.A. degree from John Jay College of the City of NY. George was born in New York City on July 2nd, 1933. After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the US Army in 1953, he moved to Miami Beach and began an illustrious career as the lead trumpet player for Tito Puente. While there, he played with the touring Count Basie Orchestra. In 1955 he returned to New York and secured a three year stint at the Copacabana, playing for Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, Nat Cole and Pearl Bailey. He was a member of the studio orchestra on The Merv Griffin Show. In addition to playing in many successful Broadway shows, Mr. Triffon was on the jazz scene where he played with the Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman bands at Basin Street East. Eventually he joined Goodman's band to tour in the summer of 1962, where he met his wife (singer Sandy Stewart). He also toured with Les Brown and Lionel Hampton. He was quoted in a recent interview; "Playing for pianist Bill Evans on his album, 'From Left to Right,' was one of the biggest thrills of my career." He made several recordings with trombonist Bill Watrous' big band as well. Aside from his musical career, Mr. Triffon was an accomplished athlete. He worked as a lifeguard at Riis Park and Delray Beach for 20 years. At the age of 54, he won eight gold medals in swimming events in the seniors' masters competition. He is survived by his wife, Sandy Stewart and seven children; daughter Lori Elgazzar, Wendy Taylor, mother of George and Christine Triffon, cousins Denos and Lavalle Marvin; step children: Anne, Tom, Katherine and Bill Charlap and six grandchildren. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on August 22nd at 7 pm at St. Peter's Church, 54th Street and Lexington Avenue, NYC.
Published in The New York Times on Aug. 19, 2007