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Edward J. Leibinger of Lockport, a teacher, swimming coach and athletic director in the City of Tonawanda school system, died Tuesday (Sept. 7, 1999) in Briody Health Care Facility after a long illness. He was 81.

Born in Buffalo, Leibinger was a graduate of Riverside High School, where he was a member of the 1936 championship football team coached by Robert Rich Sr.

He attended Indianapolis Normal School for two years and earned a bachelor's degree in education from Indiana University. He also earned a master's degree in physical education from the University of Buffalo.

Leibinger Was a Navy veteran of World War II, rising to the rank of lieutenant.

In 1946, he began his teaching and coaching career at Tonawanda High School, when it was known as Kibler High School. He taught physical education and coached varsity men's swimming. He also was assistant coach of track and football.

In 1971, he was appointed athletic director, a position he held until his retirement in 1981. During his tenure as swimming coach, he accumulated 200 team victories and eight league championships.

In 1983, he was inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame. In 1989, the Edward J. Leibinger Natatorium at Tonawanda Senior High School was dedicated in his honor. In 1995, he was inducted into the Tonawanda High School Athletic Wall of Fame.

Leibinger was supervisor of lifeguards and a water-safety instructor for the Niagara Frontier Parks Commission for 32 years. He was swimming coordinator of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association for 34 years and was inducted into the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1979.

Leibinger, who also was a member of the U.S. Olympic Diving Committee, was active in several other governing bodies for competitive swimming as well. He also was a Red Cross water-safety instructor and trainer for 50 years.

Leibinger served as president of the Niagara Frontier Athletic Association and the Tonawanda Teachers Association.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, the former Dorothy Hier, and two sons, Jay of Kansas City, Mo., and Joseph E.

He was buried in Elmlawn Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.


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