July 11, 1970 – June 20, 2014
Bridget Dick Blesnuk of the Town of Tonawanda, a registered nurse and church musician who sang with a voice many listeners described as angelic, died Friday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a 20-month battle with breast cancer. She was 43.
Born and raised in Buffalo, Mrs. Blesnuk was a graduate of Holy Spirit Catholic School, Sacred Heart Academy, Erie Community College, Buffalo State College and Sisters of Charity Hospital School of Nursing.
She began her career as a church musician in 1991, when she became the organist at her home parish of Blessed Trinity. Two years later, at the age of 23, she took on the additional responsibilities of choir director and cantor at Blessed Trinity and continued in that role until her marriage to Donald J. Blesnuk in 2010. Until earlier this year, Mrs. Blesnuk worked as a substitute organist and cantor at area Catholic churches, primarily St. Joseph University.
She was a longtime member of the Diocesan Festival Choir since 2002 and often also served as a cantor at special liturgies in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, including the installation Masses of Bishop Edward U. Kmiec and Bishop Richard J. Malone, both at St. Joseph Cathedral.
Mrs. Blesnuk’s voice had the rare quality of encouraging others inside the church to join in.
“There are a lot of soloists out there, but there are very few people who can fulfill the role of a cantor,” said Alan Lukas, director of music for the diocese. “I don’t know if anyone I’ve ever worked with has fulfilled that role better than she has.”
Instead of simply listening to Mrs. Blesnuk as a soloist, “when there were 1,200 people in the cathedral, there were 1,200 people singing with her,” he added.
Mrs. Blesnuk was an active member of the Church Musicians Guild from 1994 to the present and served on the guild’s board of directors. In May, she received the Cecelia Roy Kenney Award for outstanding service and dedication to the Guild.
In addition to her work as a musician, Mrs. Blesnuk was a full-time registered nurse specializing in the care of premature infants. She worked in the neonatal intensive care unit of Sisters Hospital since 2000. Prior to becoming a nurse, she worked part time as a blood gas technician at Children’s Hospital while working toward a biology degree at Buffalo State College. She later entered Sisters of Charity Hospital School of Nursing and received her nursing degree in 1996.
The same year, she began her “dream job” as a registered nurse in the Women and Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit.
In her spare time, Mrs. Blesnuk enjoyed caring for a continually blooming orchid collection. For the past three years, she exhibited her orchids at the Erie County Botanical Gardens as part of the Niagara Frontier Orchid Society’s spring show.
In addition to her husband of three years, she is survived by her parents, Homer H. Dick Jr. and Margaret Stiffler Dick of Buffalo.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 7 p.m. Tuesday in St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., with a choir including members of the choirs she sang with and directed.