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Joseph R. Turski, 86, a retired Buffalo police officer and an avid sportsman who excelled on the tennis court, died unexpectedly in his West Seneca home on Wednesday (Oct. 17, 2001) after being stricken while watching the New York Yankees-Seattle Mariners playoff game on television.

Turski, who took up golf in his later years and notched a hole-in-one while in his mid-70s, developed a passion for sports as a young boy living across from Humboldt Park, when a neighbor presented him with a tennis racket.

Turski went on to win numerous municipal tennis championships in the 1930s and '40s, both in singles and playing doubles with accomplished local players, including Lou Schaefer, Gus Franczyk and Ed Nowak. A 1936 graduate of Canisius College, he was inducted into the college's Hall of Fame in May 1979.

Late in life, Turski began playing golf and scored a hole-in-one in August 1991, before vision problems forced him to give up the sport.

He retired from the Buffalo Police Department's Traffic Division in 1978, following a 38-year career on the force. Turski also was a decorated Army veteran who earned the Bronze Star while serving with the Military Police in the China-Burma-India theater of operations during World War II.

Turski was an honorary member of the International Police Association and belonged to both the Western Association of Retired Police and the Retired Civil Service Employees Association.

Surviving are his wife of 60 years, the former Emily Garwacki; a son, Joseph P. of Getzville; a daughter, Alice Cross of Syracuse; a sister, Bernice Gruber of Cheektowaga; and four grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Saturday in Fourteen Holy Helpers Catholic Church, 1345 Indian Church Road, West Seneca. Burial will be in St. Adalbert's Cemetery in Lancaster.


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