He was born on September 16, 1928, raised in New York City and attended New York City public schools. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Fordham College, a Master of Science in biochemistry from Adelphi University and a doctorate in toxicology from Fordham. He served in the U.S. Army at the First Army Area Medical Labs in New York City. He was a senior toxicologist in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City until 1960, which is when he accepted the position of chief toxicologist and director of forensic science laboratories in Suffolk County. He held that title until his retirement in 1990. He was a consultant for the Department of Defense and for the Department of Health and Human Services, inspecting drug testing laboratories throughout the country and abroad. He also appeared as an expert witness in numerous cases, many of them of national significance.
Mr. Dal Cortivo was a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), a co-founder of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT), a former treasurer and trustee of the Forensic Science Foundation, a member of The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT), and many other societies and associations. He was the first secretary of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology and a diplomate (emeritus) of that board. In 1990, the AAFS honored him with the Alexander O. Gettler Award for excellence in forensic toxicology. He was author or co-author of many papers and a contributor to scientific books and journals.
Mr. Dal Cortivo had a home in Montauk for more than 20 years.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Patricia; siblings, Thelma Fusaro of Farmingdale and Robert of Virginia; and many nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews.
No local services are planned.