Paul C. Hoeflich Sr., a Canisius College chef affectionately known as "The Singing Chef," died Friday in his Buffalo home after a brief illness. He was 38.
Born in Buffalo, he graduated from Bishop Timon High School in 1984. He then worked as manager of the McDonald's restaurant on McKinley Parkway. He also worked as a shoe salesman at Runner's Roost in South Buffalo and was later promoted to manager of the store in Fredonia.
Mr. Hoeflich also worked for Certo Bros. Distributing and as a salesman at Unistage on Transit Road in Amherst.
In 1999, he began working in the Student Center cafeteria at Canisius, where he was employed at the time of his death. Canisius students knew him for singing as he cooked, serving them in what he called "menutainment."
Mr. Hoeflich would program his keyboard so that he could sing to the music, preparing 70 to 100 lunches each day.
"I'm a clown at heart," Mr. Hoeflich told The Buffalo News in an October 2000 article. "I'm a goofy guy. Basically, I like singing and acting like an idiot."
Mr. Hoeflich's passion was music. He was music director at SS. Rita & Patrick Catholic Church at Fillmore Avenue and Eagle Street. He served as the lead vocalist, pianist and bass player for the KB Express Band, which played at weddings, parties and churches. He also sang solo as an Irish tenor, performing in the Buffalo Irish Center.
Before joining the KB Express Band, he played for two bands, Uptown and Man Against Mauve.
Mr. Hoeflich coached his sons' baseball team in the South Buffalo T-Ball League. He enjoyed camping and fishing with his boys in Allegany State Park. He also bowled in a Monday night league at Recckio's.
He was a member of St. Agatha's Catholic Church.
Surviving are his wife, Noreen O'Sullivan Hoeflich; three sons, Paul C. Jr., Charles and Andrew, all of Buffalo; his father, Ronald J. of Buffalo; two sisters, Martha J. Eadie of Lancaster and Karen J. Amirault of Buffalo; and a brother, Ronald A. of Lancaster.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Agatha's Church, 65 Abbott Road. Burial will be in Hillcrest Cemetery, Armor.