Sal Branciforte moved his family from Queens to South Florida in 1969 after the founding father of Doral hired him to manage his development company’s finances.
Alfred Kaskel — the “al’’ part of Doral; his wife Doris contributed the “Dor’’ — had a vision for what was then a vast, swampy expanse north of State Road 836, south of Northwest 58th Street, west of the Palmetto Expressway and Miami International Airport, and east of Florida’s Turnpike.
He saw a city growing up around the resort he’d opened in 1962, and wanted Branciforte — who graduated from new York University’s business school at night — to help translate vision into reality.
Branciforte spent 25 years with Kaskel’s Carol Management Corp., retiring in 1994 as vice president of finance.
Born Salvatore Joseph Branciforte in Brooklyn, on March 31, 1920, he died of pneumonia at home in Coral Gables on July 29. He was 92, widowed since 2008 from the former Mina Valenti, his wife of 61 years.
The son of Italian immigrants, Branciforte was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II who served in the South Pacific. He served from 1941 to 1945, as a Quartermaster.
“He was very proud of that,’’ said his son, Robert Branciforte.
Among other duties with Kaskel’s company, Branciforte was responsible for the back-office functions at the Doral Hotel in Miami Beach, and the Doral Country Club and Spa, home to the famous “Blue Monster’’ golf course, where he rubbed shoulders with a generation of the sport’s legends.
“My dad and I played golf for awhile there fairly frequently,’’ Robert said. “He enjoyed the privilege of playing at the country club.’’
He was also instrumental in developing Doral’s Arthur Ashe Tennis Center.
“He’d come home with big blueprints and stretch them out on kitchen table,’’ his son recalled. “He was proud of making things happen.’’
Branciforte became a leader in the West Dade Group of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, a coalition of business leaders planning the future city of Doral.
“When you do it together there’s more than just dollars involved,” he told The Miami Herald in 1986. “There’s a real community spirit.”
His father “really enjoyed networking,’’ said son Robert. “A lot of people made a lot of money because of my dad.’’
The early 1990s brought heartache to Branciforte. Son Edward died of cancer in 1991, and the following year, Hurricane Andrew destroyed the family’s home in what is now Palmetto Bay.
Branciforte and his wife moved to Brickell Key, where he stayed until last year.
He would have gladly worked until the end of his days, his son said, but in later years specialized in “spoiling his two grandchildren. He couldn’t say no.’’
In addition to son Robert and daughter Joan, both of Miami-Dade, Sal Branciforte is also survived by son James, of New York City, and brother Frank, of Boston.
Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Church of the Little Flower, 2711 Indian Mound Trail, Coral Gables.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made toward a tribute bench in his memory at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.