Anthony R. Burvid Sr., a former deputy police commissioner whose leadership inspired admiration that continued years after his retirement, died unexpectedly Thursday (Sept. 21, 2000) in his South Buffalo home. He was 74.
A graduate of St. Valentine's Grammar School and St. Francis High School, Burvid continued taking college courses throughout his career.
He served in an Army Military Police unit from 1945 to 1949.
Burvid joined the Buffalo Police Department in 1951, embarking on a 36-year career that earned him the nickname "The Pope" -- because, a former colleague said, "when it came to police matters he was infallible."
He started out at the former Michigan Station, then was transferred to the detective bureau in 1959 and was made a detective three years later. Burvid was promoted to lieutenant in 1967, serving in that capacity in the former Southside Station. A year later, he was appointed assistant chief of detectives.
A promotion to captain followed in 1972. Two years later, he was named commander of the Tactical Patrol Unit.
Burvid was appointed deputy commissioner in 1985. He retired in 1987.
"Without a doubt, (he was) the best boss I ever worked for -- anywhere," said 911 Lt. Edward Prabucki, who worked for Burvid in several units. "He had a way about him of getting the job done without making you feel subservient."
Added Lt. Larry Baehre, the department's Public Information Officer: "He was an outstanding human being . . . a great policeman. He was the epitome of what a leader in the Police Department should be."
"He stood alone at the top," Baehre said.
Burvid received several citations and awards during his law enforcement career, which also included teaching a related course at Buffalo State College. He was head of security for the Buffalo Bills and the former Rich Stadium from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s.
Burvid also had worked as a longshoreman on the city's waterfront.
Former Mayor James Griffin worked with him at the old GLF Feed Mill, now known as Agway, throwing 100-pound of bags of feed onto the conveyor belt.
"Tony was always a terrific, down-to-earth guy and a real professional police officer," Griffin said in a prepared statement.
Burvid was an active member of the Blackthorns, an all-male Irish social club that participates in the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade. He also was a member of the Buffalo Police Command Officers Association, the Goin' South Democratic Club and St. Ambrose Church.
Survivors include his wife, the former Mary Ann "Bess" O'Neill; two sons, Anthony Jr. and Thomas; two sisters, Monica Cochrane and Kitty Gesicki; and seven grandchildren.
Prayers will be said at 8:45 a.m. Monday in Nightengale Funeral Home, 1884 South Park Ave., followed by a 9:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial in St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 65 Ridgewood Road. Interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna.