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Thaddeus E. Orzech, former Lackawanna mayor July 27, 1921 -- Dec. 17, 2005

Thaddeus E. "Ted" Orzech, who served as mayor of Lackawanna, died Saturday in his Lackawanna home. He was 84.

The Steel City native graduated from Lackawanna High School.

He was one of the first volunteers from Lackawanna to enlist in the Army at the start of World War II, serving in 1941 and 1942. He later earned a bachelor's degree in history at Canisius College and studied at the University of Nebraska.

Mr. Orzech was employed by the Railroad Retirement Board and the New York State Civil Service Commission and was co-owner of the Sports Lodge restaurant and tavern in Lackawanna.

He worked as special projects coordinator for the Erie County Office of the Aging, where he helped establish the senior nutrition site, the Going Places van and other programs.

Mr. Orzech's more than five decades of public service was highlighted by his term as Lackawanna mayor from 1963 to 1967.

It also included a stint as chairman of the Lackawanna Capital Expenditures Board and as a member of the Lackawanna Community Development Corporation and the Lackawanna Housing Development Corporation.

Mr. Orzech was a grand knight of Father Baker Council 2243, Knights of Columbus, and helped establish Knights of Columbus chapters in Orchard Park and Silver Creek.

He also was a member of the Monsignor Leo J. Toomey Assembly, fourth degree, and was past grand worthy master of the fourth-degree Knights of Columbus, St. Isaac Jogues Province, Sixth New York District.

He was for many years a member of the Erie County Agricultural Society and the Holy Name Society at Our Lady of Victory Basilica.

His honors included recognition as "Mr. Lackawanna," as the city's outstanding citizen, in 1960. He also earned the TAP Humanitarian Award in 1991 and the Lackawanna Community and Lackawanna Housing Development Corporation's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Survivors include his wife of 51 years, the former Rose M. Chlebowy; four daughters, Dr. Mary Jo of Brockport, Kathleen Bowman of Berwyn, Pa., Dr. Patricia of Orchard Park and Dr. Bonnie of Finksburg, Md.; a son, Francis of Westfield, N.J.; and seven grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Our Lady of Victory Basilica, 780 Ridge Road at South Park Avenue, Lackawanna. Burial will be in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Cheektowaga.


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