Jan. 22, 1936 – Jan. 18, 2014
Huncles “Sonny” Means, a sports enthusiast and spiritual leader, died Saturday in Buffalo General Medical Center, where he was taken after suffering a stroke. He was 77.
Mr. Means was born in Plateau, Ala., and moved to Buffalo with his new wife, the former Virgie Means, in the mid-1950s.
He started work as a laborer at the General Motors Central Foundry in the Town of Tonawanda, where he retired a foreman after 25 years.
He was a spiritual man and a devoted member of New Mount Ararat Temple of Prayer on Jefferson Avenue, according to his daughter Agnes Means. “His spiritual growth awarded him the privilege of sharing and spreading his knowledge through the “Gospel Community Hour” on Time-Warner Cable television,” his daughter added.
His interest in sports came as a result of his athleticism, said his son, Steven Means Sr.
Mr. Means attended Grambling State University in Grambling, La., where he played football, his son said.
Today, grandson Steven Means Jr. plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.
As a sports columnist, Mr. Means wrote “Sports Scenes with Sonny Means” for the Buffalo Challenger weekly newspaper.
His sports commentary could be heard on WBLK-FM 93.7 and WUFO-AM 1080.
During the 1970s, Mr. Means also served at the assistant football coach at East High School.
Mr. Means volunteered at many community organizations, including: the William-Emslie YMCA, Community Action Organization and Little League football and baseball. He also contributed frequently to charity drives collecting food, clothing and toys for the needy.
“He would always stop on his way home from work and drop off doughnuts at senior centers and community centers along Jefferson Avenue,” his daughter Agnes recalled.
Mr. Means received several mayoral proclamations during his life, said his son Steven.
In addition to his son and daughter, survivors include another daughter, Linda; five grandchildren, five great grandchildren; and a great-great grandchild.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 E. Ferry St.