John M. Mikulski, who was well known as "Minister of Hospitality" at the West Seneca Senior Citizens Center and still dancing and driving at the age of 92, died Friday at his home in West Seneca after an illness of several weeks.
Born in Rockingham County, Va., he had been a resident of the Buffalo area since he was a boy. He attended School 32 on Cedar Street in Buffalo and worked as an usher at Shea's Theatre as a young man.
His job as an usher affected him for the rest of his life, according to relatives. He developed a love for movies that are now considered classics.
During World War II, he was employed by Buffalo Arms, a company involved in the top secret Manhattan Project. After the war, he was a truck driver, retiring in 1977 from American Linen Supply Co.
The slightly built man also greeted parishioners at the 10 a.m. Sunday masses at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in South Buffalo.
He enjoyed driving to Fort Erie to play the slots and bingo, and was regarded by friends as an "ace" pinochle player who seldom lost. When he did, he would joke, "It was my partner's fault."
Mr. Mikulski's sense of humor enabled him to muse about his height. When he was a young man, he was about 5 feet 4 inches tall. In later life, he would point out to friends and grandchildren that he had "shrunk" to about 5 feet 1 inch in height.
Until he became ill in October, he attended Friday night dances to enjoy dancing to the Big Band music of his younger years.
His wife of 62 years, the former Lena Accordino, died in 1999.
Survivors include a daughter, Sandy Wilkey of Palm Harbor, Fla.; two sons, Michael of Safety Harbor, Fla., and John M. Jr. of Alden; three sisters, Margaret McCarville of Largo, Fla., and Meredith Wagner and Bethene Mikulski, both of Buffalo; two brothers, Lionel of Big Sandy, Tenn., and Wellington of Amherst; nine grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.
Prayers will be said at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday in Hoy Funeral Home, 3855 Seneca St., West Seneca, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, 1140 Abbott Road. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheektowaga.