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Carmen L. Ciambella, operated laundry that served sailors on the Great Lakes
Dec. 13,1914 -- Jan. 22, 2007

For roughly 40 years, Carmen L. Ciambella operated a marine supply service that made him responsible for taking in dirty laundry and returning it clean and fresh to many of the Great Lakes ships that passed through Buffalo.

Mr. Ciambella died Monday in a hospital in Palm Harbor, Fla. He was 92.

Born in Buffalo, Mr. Ciambella and his brother, Peter, began operating Peoples Laundry in the 1930s. The business, which operated from a building at 144-148 William St., was started by their father, Joseph.

The Ciambellas were responsible for providing clean linen and personal laundry items to ships and cargo vessels. Often they had to return the items within 12 hours of receiving them, traveling either by tugboat to meet the larger boats in the open harbor or by driving the goods to the next port where the ships would dock, either in Cleveland or Detroit.

Carmen Ciambella, who was president of the company, operated the business until the late 1970s. Between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, Mr. Ciambella simultaneously worked as a civil engineer for the City of Buffalo.

He was a perennial Buffalo Bills season-ticket holder and an avid sportsmen who won numerous trophies in bowling and golf.

Mr. Ciambella spent the winters in Florida, where he became a pontoon boat captain for the Florida Highland Lakes Association.

His first wife, Clarice Kalicki Ciambella, died in 1992.

He is survived by his wife of eight years, Betty J. Whissel-Ciambella; two daughters, Sandra Jaros and Linda Kling; two stepdaughters, Mary Ann Drury and Betty Jean Hahn; three stepsons, Richard Whissel, Robert Whissel and Jim Whissel; his brother, Peter; and a sister, Violet Cassiol.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, Main Street at Harris Hill Road, Clarence.


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