Dr. Henry V. Morelewicz of Cheektowaga died Tuesday (Sept. 26, 2000) in St. Joseph Hospital, Cheektowaga -- a hospital he helped to establish -- after a brief illness. He was 86.
The Buffalo native graduated from East High School and Canisius College. He graduated from the University of Buffalo Medical School in 1939. He interned at E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital and was a resident at Mercy Hospital. He later studied physical medicine and rehabilitation under Dr. Howard Rusk at the Rusk Institution in New York City.
He enjoyed recalling the negotiations that led to the establishment of St. Joseph Hospital. He joined other physicians and church officials to negotiate purchase of a site for the hospital. They met with George Urban, who offered 27 acres for $12,000, only if the land were used for the hospital. Otherwise, the price would be $125,000.
Morelewicz, who had helped to negotiate the price, was instrumental in raising money to make the dream of a hospital for Cheektowaga come true. He later developed a physiotherapy program at the hospital that became its highly regarded physical therapy department.
He also was proud of his efforts to help children suffering the effects of polio, hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy and related conditions. His concern was credited for the development of better treatment for thousands of afflicted children in Western New York. His efforts led directly to the establishment of West Seneca Developmental Center and the Cantalician Center.
Morelewicz, who was on the staffs of St. Joseph, Mercy and Kenmore Mercy hospitals as well as the former Mount View Hospital in Lockport, maintained his ties at UB as a professor of therapeutics. He was a leading figure in developing the physiotherapy, vocational counseling and rehabilitative nursing programs at UB.
In his later years, he was a consulting physician at Riverside Medical Center. He was former medical director at Manor Oak Skilled Nursing Facility and examining physician for the Workers' Compensation Board. He retired in 1993.
He was a member of numerous professional medical organizations and at the time of his death was a trustee of Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church. He also was a member of Father Justin Council 5670, Knights of Columbus, and had been honored by many organizations.
Morelewicz received a special apostolic blessing from Pope John Paul II for 50 years of dedicated service to the medical profession.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Helen G. Gronkowski; a daughter, Barbara Majchrzak of Chula Vista, Calif.; three sons, Robert of Oceanside, Calif., James of Avon, Conn., and Paul of Amherst; and 10 grandchildren.
Prayers will be said at 9 a.m. Friday in Melvin J. Sliwinski Funeral Home, 35 George Urban Blvd., Cheektowaga, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30 in Queen of Martyrs Church, 180 George Urban Blvd., Cheektowaga. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Cheektowaga.