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Cheryl S. Wilczak, arts program director Dec. 30, 1947 -- Feb. 3, 2006

Cheryl S. Wilczak, arts program director for Opportunities Unlimited for the past dozen years, died Friday from injuries suffered in an auto accident on her way to work with the nonprofit agency that works with the developmentally disabled. She was 58.

Born in Springhill, Nova Scotia, she moved to Niagara Falls, as a child. She attended local schools and graduated from Niagara Falls High School and Niagara County Community College.

She taught skills to the clients at Opportunities Unlimited in order to help them lead more independent lives.

"The [clients] all loved her and relied on her, and now, without her, there's a huge void," said Jill Spira, associate executive director of the agency.

Mrs. Wilczak created an arts and crafts program for Opportunities Unlimited, and was the first staff member to receive a scholarship at NCCC to further her training. She was a member of Zion Lutheran Church and participated in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

Survivors include her husband of 40 years, John J.; three sons, Sean P. and Matthew J., both of Wheatfield, and John M. of the City of Tonawanda; her mother, Frances Henwood of Niagara Falls; a brother, Robert Henwood of Niagara Falls; a sister, Kathy Henwood of Niagara Falls; and two grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Zion Lutheran Church, Michigan Avenue at Tenth Street, Niagara Falls, with the Rev. William Nelson-Loefke officiating. Interment will be in Acacia Park Cemetery, Pendleton.


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