Charles L. Fekete, 90, a decorated World War II veteran and standout senior athlete who still played ice hockey, died unexpectedly Thursday in his Niagara Falls home.
Born in Buffalo, Mr. Fekete moved to Niagara Falls with his family when he was 4. He graduated from Niagara Falls High School.
During World War II, he served in the Army's 3rd Armored Spearhead Division, participating in the Battle of the Bulge. Mr. Fekete was awarded several medals, including a Bronze Star and Purple Heart -- the latter after he was wounded in a mortar attack in France.
For 42 years, Mr. Fekete was a molder for the Carborundum Co., retiring in 1978.
At the age of 57, he started playing wing in the Niagara Falls Senior Alumni Hockey League. In 2003, he was awarded the league's sportsmanship award, now known as the "Charlie Fekete Sportsmanship Award."
When he was 77, he began competing in the New York State Senior Games and the Salvation Army Olympics, winning more than 100 medals -- most of them gold. He was inducted into the Niagara Falls Old Timers Hall of Fame in 1998.
Mr. Fekete was a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Catholic War Veterans, American Legion, Echota Club, Knights of Columbus, Disabled American Veterans and the John Duke Senior Citizens Center.
His wife of 61 years, the former Julia Sosnowski, died in 2002.
Survivors include four sons, Charles J. of Niagara Falls, Joseph R. of Wilson, Ronald J. of Sanborn and Robert L. of Montgomery, Ala.; four daughters, Patricia J. Dailey of Homerville, Ohio, Kathleen J. Hesp of Youngstown, Maureen J. Orzolick of Wilson and Teresa M. Naylor of Niagara Falls; a sister, Helen Tremblay of South Carolina; 23 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Prince of Peace Church, 1069 Military Road, following prayers at 9:30 in Lane Funeral Home, 8622 Buffalo Ave. Burial will be in Holy Trinity Cemetery, Town of Lewiston.