Albert J. Amatuzio passed away Saturday, April 1, 2017 at his home, with his family by his side,.
Al was born on May 6, 1924 in Duluth, Minn. to Margret and Albert Amatuzio.
As a child growing up on Raleigh Street, Al’s entrepreneurial nature emerged. He peddled newspapers, sold magazines, collected scrap iron and devised any number of ventures to help support the family through difficult times.
But Al’s real love was flying. He would wait each day near the old Carbolite plant to watch the white Sikorsky mail plane fly overhead on its way to touch down on the St. Louis Bay. He would wave to the pilot and dream of the day when he, too, could take to the air. His dream was realized when, at age 12, his father bought him a one-dollar ticket for a short ride in a Piper Cub. Al’s dream became ambition.
After graduation from Denfeld High School in 1942 Al attended Naval Air Corps training. But just as he was making his mark as a trainee pilot the Navy announced it had overestimated its need for pilots and closed the program. Al was disappointed and not interested in another type of Navy career, so he joined the Merchant Marine. It was aboard the SS Fisk Victory that he survived the great Okinawa storm that sent 42 ships to the ocean floor.
After the war and eager to renew his pilot training, Al joined the Air Force, now recently separated from the Army and reorganized into its own distinct branch of the armed forces. He was a natural and made a profound impression on his instructors. Al earned his wings, then fate pulled him in another direction. His mother became ill, and he had to leave the service to run the family-owned Gitchinadji Supper Club.
Still burning with desire to fly, Al joined the Duluth unit of the Air National Guard. He served 25 years as a fighter pilot and squadron commander and was twice honored as our nation’s top pilot by winning the prestigious William Tell Air-to-Air Shootout Competition and the Earl T. Rick Competitive Shootout.
Al then became inspired by a new challenge. Armed with the knowledge that every jet engine in the world could survive only with synthetic oil, he reasoned that the same performance benefits could be applied to cars, trucks and other motorized land vehicles.
Al ignored the skeptics and in 1963 began an intense period of research and development. By 1966 he had formulated his first synthetic motor oil, and throughout the sixties he continued development and sold synthetic oils under a variety of names. In 1972 AMSOIL synthetic motor oil became the world’s first synthetic motor oil to meet American Petroleum Institute service requirements. Al Amatuzio had single handedly changed the entire automotive lubricant industry, even though it was unknown to the petroleum and automotive industry at the time. Falling back on his Raleigh Street instincts and military training, he fought major corporations like Pennzoil and Amway in multi-year lawsuits. They tried to
squash AMSOIL before it got started. They soon found out the fighting tenacity of Al Amatuzio when he beat them all. Today, every oil company in America has synthetic oil due exclusively to the struggle and success of Al Amatuzio. Al used to joke about the disbelievers “they all thought I was at altitude too long without oxygen”. In February 1994, Al was formally recognized and honored as the pioneer of synthetic lubrication with his induction into the Lubricant’s World Hall of Fame.
Despite numerous offers to relocate his company, Al remained loyal to the Twin Ports. His support of local projects and events, including AMSOIL Arena, Albert J Amatuzio Veterans Memorial Hall, AMSOIL Duluth National Snocross and AMSOIL Northland Law Enforcement K-9 Foundation, reflect his firm commitment.
Al was generous in all respects and had particular compassion for children, animals and military causes. He touched the lives of many and will be missed by family, friends, hundreds of loyal AMSOIL employees and hundreds of thousands loyal AMSOIL Dealers.
Al is preceded in death by Albert Amatuzio (father), Margret Erickson (mother); siblings Donald Amatuzio and Dolly Johnson.
Al is survived by his daughters Lorry Amatuzio and Lyn Amatuzio; sons Dan (Jolene) Amatuzio and Alan (Gina) Amatuzio; grandchildren Carli Amatuzio, Daniel Amatuzio, Margo Amatuzio, Albert John (AJ) Amatuzio II, Bryce Carlson and Brody Carlson; sister Antoinette “Tutz” Sand, brother Richard (Liz) Amatuzio and many nieces and nephews.
A gathering of family and friends will begin on Saturday, April 15, at the DECC Auditorium, 325 Harbor Drive, Duluth, MN at 12 noon with services at1pm. Military honors accorded by the Duluth Honor Guard will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred and may be directed to Amsoil Northland Law Enforcement K9 Foundation, northlandk9.org, Animal Allies, 4006 Airport Rd., Duluth, MN 55811 or Douglas County Humane Society, PO Box 891, Superior, WI 54880.
Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, Duluth, (218) 727-3555.