May 19, 1934 – March 10, 2016
Robert J. Pollino, of the Town of Tonawanda, a business owner whose career included stints as a police officer, a television host and a professional wrestler, died Thursday in Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center after a long illness. He was 81.
Born in Auburn, he came to the Town of Tonawanda as a boy and grew up in the Kenilworth neighborhood known as Ducktown. After graduating from Kenmore High School, he served in the Navy during the Korean War with Patrol Squadron Eight (VP-8) in Maine, patrolling for submarines, and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Antietam, working in ordnance.
After returning to civilian life, he studied commercial art at the University of Buffalo and briefly was a police officer in Hamburg.
Mr. Pollino later owned and operated a variety of businesses. He was a drywall contractor, owner of Lincoln Park Florist, operator of the Tucket Inn Motel on Niagara Falls Boulevard and proprietor of Mark Cue Billiards on Buffalo’s West Side. He hosted a billiards show on WUTV, Channel 29, in the 1970s, promoted bluegrass festivals at a campground in Akron and staged frog-jumping competitions in Ellicott Creek Park.
A professional wrestler who competed under the name of Bobby Powers in the 1950s and ’60s, he organized a statewide arm-wrestling tournament and took winners to compete for the world championship in Petaluma, Calif. He also trained female wrestlers.
He was a member of AMVETS, the American Legion and the Korean War Veterans Association. He also was a member of the Ducktown Reunion.
Survivors include his wife of 47 years, the former Marlin T. Oates; three stepdaughters, Susan Moloney, Laurie Pelcher and Ann Parucki; a stepson, Frank DiMartile; a sister, Sylvia Cooper; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
A funeral service with military honors will be held at 8 p.m. Tuesday after visitation starting at 4 in Amigone Funeral Home, 2600 Sheridan Drive, at Parker Boulevard, Town of Tonawanda.