March 10, 1922 – Dec. 30, 2017
Stanley M. Bolas, a former Golden Gloves boxer, would tell his son, "I still think I have a good three minutes left in me."
"My dad always had a quote, and this one was a reference to a three-minute round of boxing," said Michael Bolas.
"In my mind he was always the undisputed champ," he said.
Mr. Bolas, a Buffalo police officer and former U.S. Marine who fought in the Pacific Theater during WWII, died Saturday in Hospice Buffalo after a brief illness. He was 95.
He was an Eagle Scout from Kaisertown who fought as a Golden Gloves welterweight in many local arenas, according to Michael Bolas.
A 1940 graduate of South Park High School, Mr. Bolas enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1941. He served in Iceland, where he encountered 125 mph winds and temperatures of 40 below, said his son. When the U.S. entered World War II, he was deployed to the Pacific. As a platoon sergeant in the infantry, Mr. Bolas participated in the 1944 Battle of Eniwetok.
Mr. Bolas, as a rule, was reticent about his time in combat during the war, Michael Bolas said.
"It was only during the last 10 years that he would talk about his time in WWII," said his son. "What he experienced and what he saw left a lot of raw nerves. He was the consummate Marine. Every day the flag was flying in our front yard."
Mr. Bolas was one of five brothers who fought in WWII. His older brother, Carl, a master sergeant in the U.S. Army, was serving as a paratrooper when he died on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.
"Uncle Carl was hunkered down in a church basement when the bomb came in," said Michael Bolas. "His photograph with his service medals was displayed in one of the bedrooms of our house in West Seneca."
After the war, Mr. Bolas received an honorable discharge and returned to Buffalo to marry the former Eleanor Kromkowski. He studied business at Canisius College, where he graduated in 1952.
He joined the Buffalo Police Department in 1951, advancing from patrolman to lieutenant to captain of the narcotics unit in 1971.
Michael Bolas described his father as a "take charge kind of guy" and offered an example.
"I ran into one of the detectives who worked with him in the narcotics bureau," said Michael Bolas. "He told me my dad insisted they call him — no matter what time — when they were going out on a raid. One night, a call came as he was leaving for a black-tie event. So he shows up at the scene in a blue paisley tuxedo, grabs a sledgehammer and breaks the door down. That was my dad."
In 1973, Mr. Bolas was appointed by former Erie County Executive Ned Regan to be the first commissioner of Central Police Services. He served in that position until his retirement from law enforcement in 1984.
After his retirement, Mr. Bolas started Sky Promotions, an advertising business he operated out of his West Seneca home. He continued to serve as a consultant until 2016.
He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He particularly relished his Wednesday lunch outings with the ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out), recalled his son.
The last lunch he attended was the week before Thanksgiving, said Michael Bolas.
"His favorite place was DiTondo's, where he would order spaghetti parm," Michael Bolas said. "He could still eat me under the table up until a week or two before he passed."
Mr. Bolas was a member of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police and International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association. Other memberships included the Professional & Businessmen's Association and the Harvey Morin VFW Post in West Seneca.
He was honored as the Golden Ambassador from St. Joseph's Hospital and Man of the Year from the Professional & Businessmen's Association.
In addition to his son, Michael, survivors include a daughter, Andrea Kriegbaum, and five grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 4 at Fourteen Holy Helpers Church, 1350 Indian Church Road, West Seneca.