Walter Zurat, who often was seen strolling through the Broadway Market during the Easter holidays entertaining shoppers with his accordion, died Wednesday (Oct. 1, 1997) in his Buffalo home after a long illness.
Zurat, 74, was born in Poland and came to the United States after being held in a forced labor camp during World War II. A gifted, self-taught musician, he became known throughout the East Side Polish community for his talent and at one point led his own band, called Podhalaska.
He made appearances on local Polish radio stations and on television shows featuring Polish music.
Zurat also was a violinist and, after coming to Buffalo, worked as a violin maker and watchmaker in his home. He played in the Polish Community Center, area churches, including SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church on Clinton Street. He wrote much of his own music.
Zurat retired from Buffalo Forge, where he worked for 30 years. He was a member of Post 134, Friends of Polish Army War Veterans, and the Holy Name Society at SS. Peter and Paul Church.
Survivors include his wife, the former Maria Wojs; two daughters, Chesterine Breen of the Town of Tonawanda and Jane Connors; a son, Edward of the Town of Tonawanda; and four grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, 123 Townsend St., after prayers at 9:15 in Pietszak Funeral Home, 806 Clinton St. Burial will be in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Cheektowaga.