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Butch Baldassari

Butch Baldassari, 56, of Nashville, Tenn., and formerly of Scranton, died Saturday in Nashville after a long and courageous battle with a brain tumor. His wife of 15 years is the former Sinclair Dickey.

Born in Scranton, son of Patricia Baldassari and the late Hank Baldassari, he was a graduate of Scranton Preparatory School and attended the University of Scranton and the Berklee School of Music, Boston. He was the founder of the National Mandolin Ensemble and the Weary Hearts. He was employed as a professor of music in the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where the university stated that "he made a cottage industry out of mandolin music."

Butch recorded dozens of albums sold through his own recording company, Sound Art Recordings. He was nominated three years running as Mandolin Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association and also received two Grammy nominations by the same organization. He was also awarded Song of the Year and Best Classical Recording from the Nashville Music Association.

Also surviving are a son, Blake Baldassari, at home; two brothers, Henry Baldassari Jr. and wife, Wendy; and Louis Baldassari; a niece, Tessa; a nephew, Zachary; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

The funeral will be Saturday with Mass at 11 a.m. in St. Francis of Assisi Church, 634 Genet St., Scranton, to be concelebrated by Monsignor Philip A. Gray, pastor, and the Rev. William Campbell.

Friends may call Saturday, 10 to 10:45, at the church. Arrangements by the Neil W. Regan Funeral Home Inc., 1900 Pittston Ave., Scranton, 18505. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Francis of Assisi Church, 634 Genet St., Scranton, 18505.
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