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Daryl J. DeMari, much-honored sheriff's deputy Nov. 10, 1970 -- May 27, 2012

Daryl J. DeMari, a sheriff's deputy with Erie and Monroe counties, died Sunday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a long illness. He was 41.

He served as a sheriff's deputy for 16 years -- 14 with the Erie County Sheriff's Office and two with Monroe County. He was a member of the Erie County SWAT Team and was an Erie County drug recognition expert.

Mr. DeMari received awards in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2008 for his commitment to stopping DWI. And in 2001, he earned the Safe Sober Award for excellence in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving program.

Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said DeMari was a charismatic deputy who continued to work until he entered Hospice a few months ago.

"What was particularly inspiring about this deputy is despite the severe nature of his illness, this man struggled to come to work almost every day for the last three and a half years," Howard said. "Anybody else would stay home and feel sorry for himself. Daryl would come to work to make something good happen. This is what kept him going."

Born in Buffalo, Mr. DeMari attended St. Mary's High School and Erie Community College, receiving his associate degree in applied science in January 1998.

He is survived by a son, Tyler; his parents, Benedetto and Onorina; and a sister, Rosanne Myers.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in St. Gabriel Catholic Church, 5271 Clinton St., Elma.