Alice M. Posluszny, 74, a leader and spokeswoman in Buffalo's Polish community for many years, died Sunday (Sept. 16, 2001) in Sisters Hospital after a brief illness.
Born in Buffalo, she was the daughter of Frank Wardynski, founder of Wardynski Sausage Co. She was a co-owner of the company with her brothers for many years.
After graduating from Villa Maria Academy, she received her bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Buffalo.
While at UB, she helped organize her fellow students into the Polish-American Youth Organization, which at its height included more than 125 members and sponsored a variety of social and civic activities.
Considered by many as "The First Lady of Polonia," Mrs. Posluszny led efforts to maintain close cultural ties with Poland even during the Cold War, beginning with her first visit to Poland in 1959.
She was instrumental in organizing the 1976 visit by a group of 18 Polish bishops, including Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, who would later become Pope John Paul II. She attended his investiture at the Vatican.
A co-host of President Ronald Reagan's visit to Buffalo during the 1984 campaign, she was named an honorary member of Reagan's 1985 Inaugural Committee and attended the inauguration.
"I like to be there when history is being made," she said.
Mrs. Posluszny was a longtime member of the board of trustees of the University at Buffalo Foundation and was named a trustee emeritus in 1993.
She was instrumental in establishing academic ties between UB and Poland's Jagiellonian University in Krakow, beginning with a personal visit to the university's president on one of her trips to Poland.
She also helped commission a performance of the Polish opera "Halka" in Shea's Performing Arts Center in 1975 and helped underwrite the performance of Polish state dance troupes, such as Slansk, in Kleinhans Music Hall.
She and her husband filmed extensively during their many visits to Poland and showed their movies to civic organizations and church and school groups.
She was a leader in the effort to persuade then-Gov. Hugh Carey to appoint Ann T. Mikoll to the Third Appellate Court in Albany.
Former Rep. Henry J. Nowak called Mrs. Posluszny "a wonderful friend and spirited community leader."
Nowak recalled that she was a prime mover in the campaign to get the Polish government to erect a statue of Gen. Casimir Pulaski, a hero of the American Revolution, near Ellicott Square in downtown Buffalo.
One of the organizers of the region's first commercial UHF television station, Channel 29, WUHF, now WUTV, she was co-chairwoman of three telethons that raised more than $600,000 for food and medicine for Poland in the 1980s.
Mrs. Posluszny served as chairwoman of the executive committee of the Permanent Chair of Polish Culture at Canisius College.
She was named to the board of directors of the Polish Community Center in 1976.
She was a member of the board of trustees of Villa Maria College and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, where she served as secretary.
Mrs. Posluszny was a member of the sesquicentennial celebration committees for Buffalo and Erie County.
She was a member of the board of directors of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (now the National Conference for Community and Justice), serving as co-chairwoman of its Brotherhood-Sisterhood Week; the International Institute, where she was chairwoman of the 25th anniversary Folk Ball; and the Upper Main Street Development Fund.
She served as chairwoman for the annual Daemen College President's Scholarship Dinner.
She was a member of the Polish Arts Club of Buffalo, Kosciuszko Foundation, Polish-American Congress of Western New York, Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle, Greater Buffalo Opera Company, Buffalo-Rzeszow Sister Cities Committee and Polish Professional Businesswomen's Association.
Mrs. Posluszny was honored for community service in 1972 by the Professional and Businessmen's Association of Western New York and for volunteer service by the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1987.
The Polish Arts Club presented her a plaque at its first Polonaise Ball, honoring her as "a prime mover of the Polish-American image on the Niagara Frontier."
Survivors include her husband of 51 years, Edward H.; a son, Dr. Edward F. of Perrysburg, Ohio; a daughter, Joanne Posluszny Hoff-sten of Linkoping, Sweden; two brothers, Raymond Wardynski of Williamsville and Edmund Wardynski of Cheektowaga; and five grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church, 157 Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga. Entombment will be in Resurrection Mausoleum of St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Cheektowaga.