July 14, 1926 – Sept. 15, 2015
Pierce L. McLennan, a World War II paratrooper and former West Seneca town official who delighted friends with his quips and jokes, died in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital following a long illness. The Cheektowaga resident was 89.
“He was very proud of serving as a paratrooper with the famed 82nd Airborne Division, but what he was really known for by so many people was his sense of humor, his jokes,” said Robert McLennan, one of the veteran’s two sons. “He once got up before an audience of 1,000 people and did a Henny Youngmann standup comedy routine.”
Born and educated on Buffalo’s West Side and in Hamburg, Mr. McLennan joined the Army shortly after his 18th birthday and then volunteered to leap out of airplanes with the 82nd Airborne. He was assigned to the Pacific Theater as the war wound down.
After the war, he worked 18 years with the South Buffalo Railway, serving as a yard conductor and also becoming active in union affairs. He rose to the rank of local president with the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen’s union.
In the 1960s, he was appointed as superintendent of parks and buildings for the Town of West Seneca, a position he held for another 18 years. He then retired, but kept busy, as an active member of veterans organizations and as an amateur writer. His two self-published murder mysteries and his autobiography – “The Life & Times of Pierce McLennan” – impressed family and friends.
“It’s wonderful for his family that he wrote his autobiography for us,” said Robert McLennan. “We have his whole life story, his ups and downs and his deepest regrets. It’s really great to have that to remember him by.”
Mr. McLennan belonged to the Niagara Frontier and Tampa Bay Airborne chapters of the 82nd Airborne Association, and was a former National Director of the association. For his 60th birthday he made a parachute jump over Zephyrhills, Fla. He was also a life member of the Harvey D. Morin Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in West Seneca.
He and his wife of 40 years, the former Patricia Conner, enjoyed traveling and spent a lot of time in Palm Harbor, Fla., near Tampa.
In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by another son, Timothy, and two sisters, Margaret Caboot and Betty Sniezak.
A celebration of his life will be held at noon on Oct. 3 in McPartlan’s Fairdale Banquet Center, 672 Wehrle Drive, Cheektowaga.