Joseph E. Owczarczak Jr., 78, retired regional director of the state Housing and Community Renewal Department, died Tuesday (Aug. 25, 1998) in Mercy Hospital after a brief illness.
The Cheektowaga native attended the University of Buffalo and was an Army veteran of World War II. He served in the European campaign from 1943 to 1945, where assisted Gen. George Patton in creating a mobile army headquarters.
After the war, he was employed for a time at Bell Aircraft in Wheatfield, where he worked on the development of the Bell X-15 experimental rocket-powered aircraft.
He left there in 1951 to establish the Cheektowaga Real Estate and Insurance Agency, which later became the Cheektowaga Agency and Garden Homes Realty, which he ran until 1975.
At 55, Owczarczak began a second career as a senior housing management representative with the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal, where he helped coordinate the state's efforts on behalf of Love Canal residents. In 1983, he established the first regional office of the Housing and Community Renewal Department in Buffalo, serving as its director until his retirement in 1995.
In the 1950s, Owczarczak was a Republican committeeman and was active in several supervisor races in Cheektowaga.
He was a member of Cheektowaga Post 2429, Veterans of Foreign Wars; the Erie County Republican Committee; the St. Josaphat Holy Name Society; and Father Justin Council, Knights of Columbus. He was also a member of Doyle Hose No. 1 Fire Company for 45 years.
Most recently, he was active in the Polish Arts Club of Buffalo.
He was married for 43 years to Dorothy Cwiklinski Owczarczak, who died in 1985.
Survivors include three daughters, Virginia Stanton of Elmira, Margaret Weigand of South Wales and Patricia Poreda of Cheektowaga; a brother, Thomas W. of Cheektowaga; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Prayers will be said at 9:15 a.m. Friday in Buszka Funeral Home, Clinton and Ogden streets, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 in St. Josaphat's Catholic Church, William and Peoria Avenue, Cheektowaga. Burial will be in St. Matthew's Cemetery, Cheektowaga.