Leroy F. Schlebus Jr., who played trumpet for many years in a brass quintet he founded, died Saturday in his Depew home after a short illness. He was 57.
The Buffalo native graduated from Maryvale High School in 1965. He worked for a year as a printer at Arcata Graphics before being drafted into the Army. He served two years stateside as a sergeant, then was honorably discharged and returned to his printing job.
A serious heart ailment that required open heart surgery forced him to retire in 1973.
Mr. Schlebus began playing the trumpet at age 6, but had to stop as a result of the illness. He was able to resume playing after his second surgery in 1981, and he formed the Worshipping Brass Quintet, which played in churches throughout Western New York.
He also played with the West Seneca and Lancaster Town Bands and sang with the Buffalo Schwaben Chor, a German choral group. Most weekends, he played weddings, anniversaries, nursing homes and other events. Just last week, he was elected president of the German-American Music Association.
"He lived for music. It was the only thing that kept him going as long as he did," said his wife of 33 years, the former Patricia Carroll. Sunday would have been their 34th wedding anniversary.
Also surviving are two sons, Eric of Caledonia and Kurt of Pittsfield, Mass.; a sister, Karen Saparito of Vero Beach, Fla.; and three grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. John's Lutheran Church, 67 Litchfield Ave., Depew. Burial will be in Town Line Lutheran Cemetery, Town Line.