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Francis A. "Zeke" Zeisz, 73, of the City of Tonawanda, a retired professional baseball player, boat builder and canal enthusiast, died Friday (Feb. 23, 2001) in DeGraff Memorial Hospital, North Tonawanda, following a brief illness.

A native of Snyder, Zeisz lived in the City of Tonawanda for more than 50 years. His childhood was spent in North Tonawanda.

During his professional baseball career, he played for the Washington Senators, retiring in 1957.

He worked as a foreman for the Richardson Boat Co. in North Tonawanda for 23 years until the company closed in 1962. He continued working for himself, building and restoring wooden boats, until the time of his death.

His family remembers him saying the second love of his life, after his family, was wooden boats.

He was an outstanding athlete at North Tonawanda High School, graduating in 1946.

Zeisz was a member of the board of directors for Canalfest and ran the SIKA Challenge for the past 17 years. He was past president of the Antique and Classic Boat Society and served on City of Tonawanda Mayor Alice Roth's Canal Advisory Board.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, the former Barbara L. Erwel; two daughters, Debbie Wiechec of Geneseo and Danell Pazik of the City of Tonawanda; a son, David of the City of Tonawanda; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral and burial services are private.


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