Henry Joseph Zajac, a decorated World War II veteran and owner of the Zajac Funeral Home, died on Tuesday while under the care of Niagara Hospice. He was 84.
A Niagara Falls native, Mr. Zajac attended St. Stanislaus Kostka School and Gaskill Junior High School and graduated from Niagara Falls High School.
He served in the Army from 1942 to 1945 and rose to the rank of sergeant. He served with the Headquarters 1st Battalion 152nd Infantry in the southern Philippines, Luzon and New Guinea.
He graduated from Simmons School of Mortuary Science in Syracuse and after serving a one-year apprenticeship, earned his funeral director's license in 1947. That same year, he married the former Stephania M. Klimecko. In 1948, he began to build the funeral home, which he operated with his wife and later with his son, Henry E.
He was a member of local, state and national funeral directors associations. He also was a member of St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church, where he was a trustee for 50 years, the Holy Name Society, St. Jude Guild, Ushers Society and Parish Council.
He was also a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Polish National Alliance, St. John Kanty Society, Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, Holy Trinity Society, Polish Union of America, St. Francis Society 97, Catholic Golden Age Club, Retired Men's Service Club, Loyal Order of Moose, BPO Elks Lodge 346, Polish Legion of American Veterans USA and Matt Urban Post 198, American Legion.
He was a charter member of the Portage Post, American Legion, and a life member of the Echo Society, AMVETS Post 26, North Tonawanda; Knights of Columbus Council 247, fourth degree; Disabled American War Veterans, Chapter 12; Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 54; and Woodmen of the World Kosciuszko Camp 211.
He received Man of the Year Awards from the Holy Name Society and Echo Club, St. Joseph the Worker award from the former Bishop Edward Head and the Father Meade Award from the Knights of Columbus in 2001.
In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by a daughter, Leonore M. Attfield of Niagara Falls; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, 24th and Niagara streets, after prayers at 10:15 in Zajac Funeral Home, 319 24th St. Burial with military honors will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Lewiston.