Karol Tomaszewski of West Amherst, who fought in the underground Polish Home Army during World War II, died Saturday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital after a brief illness. He was 79.
Born in Mir, Poland, the son of a physician, he took part in the 63-day Warsaw Uprising in 1944, was wounded in the early fighting, returned to his unit, then surrendered and spent eight months in a German prison camp.
Liberated by American forces in May 1945, he served in special units under American command, then joined the Polish Second Corps under British command in Italy in 1946.
He was sent to England in 1948, serving with the British army until his discharge later that year.
He graduated from West Scotland Agricultural College in 1951 and came to Buffalo, earning a degree in architectural design from Erie County Technical Institute.
He worked for the Buffalo Sewer Authority as a senior draftsman, retiring in 1990.
Active in the Polish-American community here, he served for 27 years as president of the Polish Veterans of World War II, 24 years as president of the Polish-American Citizens Organization and three years as president of the Western New York Division, Polish National Congress.
Mr. Tomaszewski also was a member of the national executive board of the Polish-American Veterans of World War II and a board member of the Polish-American Cultural Center.
He was a member of the Association of the U.S. Army, the New York State Sheriffs Association, the American Legion and the New York State Militia Association.
He was a captain in the Buffalo Special Police.
Mr. Tomaszewski joined the New York Guard in 1973 as a second lieutenant and held the rank of colonel when he retired in 1993.
He received numerous military and community service awards, including the Polonia Restituta Fourth and Fifth Class, one of Poland's highest honors, as well as the Gold Cross of Merit with Swords, the Polish Home Army Cross, the Polish Military Medal and the Polish Purple Heart.
Lech Walesa, then president of Poland, decorated him with the Gold Cross of Merit of the Polish Republic and the Cross of the Warsaw Uprising.
He received two military commendation medals from the New York Guard.
In 1971, with the help of Monsignor Peter J. Adamski, Mr. Tomaszewski obtained a large plot in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Cheektowaga, for Polish veterans of World War II.
In recent years, he was instrumental in having a memorial erected to the veterans.
He was responsible for placing three commemorative plaques locally for Poles who died in World War II, two in the vestibule in St. Stanislaus Catholic Church honoring those who gave their lives in the Battle of Monte Casino and the Warsaw Uprising, and one in City Hall in memory of Polish troops massacred by the Soviets in Katyn Forest.
Surviving are his wife of 51 years, the former Estelle Teodorowski; two sons, Charles of Berlin, Germany, and Christopher of Buffalo; two brothers, Dr. Roman of South Africa and Henry of Washington, D.C.; and a grandson.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Wednesday in St. Stanislaus Church, 123 Townsend St., after prayers at 8:15 a.m. in the Kazmierczak Funeral Home, 3640 Clinton St., West Seneca. Burial will be in the Polish army veterans section of St. Stanislaus Cemetery.