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MICHAEL DRABIK, POLONIA HISTORIAN

Michael Drabik, 51, founding president of the Polish Genealogical Society of New York State, died Thursday (Oct. 25, 2001), apparently of heart attack, in his office in Buffalo.

Born in Buffalo, he grew up in the Kaisertown-East Clinton Street area and attended South Park High School, where he was introduced to Polish language studies. He attended Alliance College in Cambridge Springs, Pa., where he deepened his interest in Polish culture and language.

He was an advocate of Polish religious practices and was a dedicated researcher and a published Polonia historian.

A dozen years ago, he organized and became first president of the Polish Genealogical Society of Western New York (now PGS-NYS). He did extensive research into genealogy and contributed many articles to the society's publication, the Searcher.

He collected numerous books, publications and artifacts about Polonia and was an entertaining and informative lecturer. He contributed much of the Web site material of PGS-NYS on Polonia parishes in the Buffalo diocese and wrote an article about the Polonia clergy in Western New York.

At the time of his death, he was working on an article about Polish radio broadcasting in Western New York. Previous articles had focused on Polonia midwives and funeral directors, the Fredro Singing Society and Polish theater in Buffalo.

For more than 10 years, he had been in charge of the East Side office of the Crime Victims Compensation Board, a New York State project conducted through Buffalo's Neighborhood Information Center.

Previously, he served for many years as manager of Stadnitski Gardens, a senior-citizen housing project near the Broadway Market at Beck and Stanislaus streets.

He was involved in many fraternal and social organizations, including the Polish National Alliance, Polish Union of America, Polish Falcons of America and Polish Scouting.

Surviving are his wife of 26 years, the former Boguslawa Potwara; three daughters, Krystyna, Joanna and Kasia, all of Buffalo; his mother, Alice of Buffalo; and two sisters, Kathy DiBona and Rosemary Turner.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered today in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Town of Tonawanda, after prayers in Buszka Funeral Home. Burial was in St. Matthews Cemetery, West Seneca.

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