He was the best friend to “man’s best friends.” Now animal lovers across South Florida are mourning the loss of Paul Galluccio. He was 83.

Galluccio served as the Board President of The Pet Project, an organization dedicated to helping animals find new homes when their owners can’t take care of them anymore. It was founded in 2002, originally established to assist individuals with HIV. In 2007 they expanded their services to include the terminally ill, the elderly and the disabled.

Sue Martino, his friend and fellow board member, announced the news on Facebook, saying “It is with my deepest sadness that the Pet Project for Pets CEO [and] Board President Paul Galluccio has passed away. He was a major inspiration and leader who pushed the Pet Project for Pets to new highs, he knew no limits to what we could achieve. He was an amazing leader, mentor and friend. He always made it possible for us to get what we needed to keep pets and people together no matter the cost. He will be deeply missed. Pet Project for Pets has lost a great leader and we all have lost a great friend. RIP Paul Galluccio our friend and be at peace.”

Galluccio was a business investor with more than 45 years of investment experience. He split his time between Fort Lauderdale and New York. He joined The Pet Project board in 2009, and they say he brought “a dedicated, strong focus” of growth and financial stability to the organization.

Pet Project benefited from his decades of success in business. Galluccio developed bars, restaurants, and hotels across much of the country, including Manhattan to Fort Lauderdale.

Galluccio was also an honorary of the board of the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center. 

"I think we're both hit by the loss of that wonderful spirit and life force, Paul Galluccio. He always managed to stay positive and hopeful, even when dealing with frustrating issues. When I was CEO of the World AIDS Museum, Paul NEVER said 'no.' Even before there was a museum, we asked for money and he said of course and wrote a check for thousands of dollars. He then encouraged others to follow suit and they did,"  Hugh Beswick said. "In our second year at the museum, Paul threw a large party for WAM at his home which netted thousands more. Paul was my friend and I felt responsible to him. I knew he would always say yes and had to use care not to take advantage of his generosity. After the museum became a recipient of the AHF matching gift program Paul would routinely give us $5,000 to be matched by AHF.

Galluccio is survived by his son, John, his daughter, Pamela, and two grandchildren: Hayden and Shane.

"For those of you that knew Paul, he was always the life of the party," said his daughter Pam. "He spent every day with the biggest smile on his face, and laughing with that special twinkle in his eye."

Pam said Paul was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2017. IPF is an autoimmune disease that attacks the lungs.

"A disease that would typically devastate any person receiving that news, only fueled his determination to live the next 3.5 years to the fullest. He never went a day without working, never went a day without calling and laughing with his closest family and friends, and never went a day thinking this disease would stop him. He spent every moment until his last being the most amazing, caring, loving, determined, and brave man any of us have ever know," she said. "We are all so lucky to have had him in our lives and want his legacy to continue to live on forever. We as a family want to give back to the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and scientists that work so hard to battle, and try to beat this disease."

In lieu of flowers, Pam asked people to donate to a cure and/or treatments to prolong life for sufferers of IPF.