Sept. 9, 1926 - Nov. 23, 2013
Henryk J. Marszalkowski, founder of youth soccer organizations, died Saturday in his Cheektowaga home. He was 87.
Born in Chelmza, Poland, he was 13 when the country was invaded by Germany and the Soviet Union, and spent his teenage years doing slave labor on a farm in Germany. He learned to speak German, Russian and English – in addition to his native Polish, which led him to work after the war for the British Army as a military police officer in the prisoner of war and displaced persons camps.
Mr. Marszalkowski emigrated to Buffalo in 1949, the only one in his family of six to leave Poland. His energy and organizational skills led him to leadership positions in the Polish arts – including the Polish Arts Club – and Western New York soccer community.
In 1954, he was the founder and president of White Eagles Soccer Club, which played in regional amateur soccer for more than 50 years, developing several professional players, as well as organizing national and international games and tournaments.
Mr. Marszalkowski was president of Buffalo & District Soccer League from 1960 to 1965. He founded and organized the Western New York Junior Soccer League in 1968, building it from two age groups in four clubs during its exhibition seasons in 1966 and 1967 to more than 100 teams in five age groups within eight years.
He represented the U.S. Soccer Federation at the 1965 opening of Houston’s Astrodome, which was the nation’s first domed sports stadium, and in 1966 was elected president of the Northwestern NYS Soccer Football Association – the first Buffalo-based leader in the organization’s history.
Mr. Marszalkowski was involved in early efforts to bring professional soccer to Buffalo.
He worked a variety of jobs through the years, starting off as a carpenter’s apprentice. He was a private in the Army during the Korean War era, after which he earned a real estate license and started several research and development companies. Most recently, he was a chemical technician at Stark’s Associates, setting up research projects at the chemical research facility.
His wife, Sharlene Mysiak Marszalkowski, died in 1996.
Survivors include three sons, Robert, Michael and Denis; two brothers, Kazimierz and Edward; and nine grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in St. Josaphat Parish, 20 Peoria Ave., Cheektowaga.