Feb. 18, 1925 – Sept. 12, 2013
More than three decades ago, Leonard A. Sniadecki helped deliver one of Western New York’s biggest attractions to its berth at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park .
Mr. Sniadecki was well-suited for the job of serving as a co-captain on the decommissioned USS The Sullivans.
Mr. Sniadecki had served three years in the Pacific Theater on a Navy submarine. Fast forward to the late 1970s when he was a Buffalo police officer and offered one of the most unusual assignments of his career – helping to bring The Sullivans to the city’s waterfront.
Without hesitation, Mr. Sniadecki said yes.
On Friday, one day after he died at age 88 at his Florida retirement home in Port Richey, loved ones recalled his patriotism.
“Bringing The Sullivans to Buffalo was the hardest job he ever loved,” said James Sniadecki, one of the his five children. “He was on The Sullivans as it was towed by a sea-going tug up the east coast and down the St. Lawrence Seaway and through the Welland Canal into Lake Erie.”
During the journey, Sniadecki and his “shipmates,” four other Buffalo police officers and firefighters, regularly repaired leaks and removed the ship’s superstructure so that it could pass through the Welland Canal.
“This took about three months. When they arrived in the Buffalo River, my dad felt like he was 21 again. He lost like 25 pounds during those months from all the hard work,” the son said.
Before becoming a police officer in 1952, Mr. Sniadecki had worked as bus driver in Buffalo.
“He worked as a police officer 39 years. He started at the Broadway Station, which was known as Bloody Eight, and retired out of the Michigan Station,” James Sniadecki said.
The retired officer died of a heart attack Thursday.
In addition to James, Mr. Sniadecki is survived by his wife, Theresa; two other sons, Joseph and Leonard Jr.; two daughters, Sharon Orlowski and Joann D’Agostino; and eight grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Trinity Memorial Funeral Home, Port Richey, Fla.