Database Pioneer Buoncristiano Dies at 63

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Database marketer Michael T. Buoncristiano died Jan. 16 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, from pulmonary hypertension. He was 63.


Born in Jersey City, NJ, Buoncristiano was a New Jersey resident for most of his life and most recently lived in Hoboken, NJ. He spent much of his career at database services firm Wiland Services Inc. in Boulder, CO, Virginia and New York. He joined the firm in 1974 to establish its New York sales office where he introduced the company's merge/purge, postal coding, database and data application services to the publishing, catalog, financial and nonprofit sectors throughout the Northeast. Over the next two decades, he created a national sales force for Wiland and became vice president of marketing.


His leadership was a significant contribution to putting the company in the position to go public in 1984, said Phil Wiland, founder of Wiland Services Inc. and Concepts Direct, the catalog company he launched after selling the service bureau to Neodata Corp. in 1991. Wiland sold catalog title Colorful Images to Current late last year but has formed Direct Retailing, a new catalog firm in Ozark, MO, this month.


"Mike was a wonderful friend and a trusted business associate for over 30 years," Wiland said. "We were young together, built businesses together, had fun together, worked hard together. Losing him is like losing a brother. I cherish my memories of his stories, his laughter, his smile, his service to others, his work ethic and his devotion to others."


Buoncristiano served on the boards of directors of Wiland Services and Concepts Direct.


As a past president and active member of the Direct Marketing Club of New York, he received the club's Silver Apple Award in 1995.


"Mike was really one of the pioneers of database marketing on the service side of the business," said Neil Mason of Neil Mason Executive Search, Charlotte, NC. "He was surely one of the innovative direct marketers serving clients in the industry, and he spent a good quarter of a century perfecting database marketing from a technical standpoint."


Mason, who founded his firm 15 years ago, previously worked at Wiland with Buoncristiano.


Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m. today at St. Peters Church, 94 Somerset St., New Brunswick, NJ. Interment will be at Hillside Cemetery, Metuchen, NJ.


In honor of his regular contributions to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, donations can be made in Buoncristiano's name to Memorial and Honor Program, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1942.


He is survived by his four daughters: Mary Ann Buoncristiano Rosenberg, Michele R. Lapczynski, Patricia Vastano and Karen Buoncristiano of Annapolis, MD; as well as six grandchildren, three nephews, and a sister, Florence Lucchesi.


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