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Joseph T. Zera, ballroom dance studio owner Nov. 9, 1919 -- Dec. 24, 2005

Joseph T. Zera of Kenmore, who ran ballroom dance studios with his wife for over 50 years, died last Saturday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital after years of declining health. He was 86.

Born in Syracuse, Mr. Zera came to Buffalo as a young man. He worked at the Ford Stamping Plant and then started a television repair shop on Fillmore Avenue.

But his true passion was ballroom dancing.

He married Catherine Kies, a fellow ballroom dancing enthusiast. Together they started dance studios on Franklin Street, Seneca Street and on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore. Mrs. Zera would teach the classes while Mr. Zera concentrated on running the business.

The couple also taught and were regulars at the Dellwood Ballroom on Main Street in Buffalo.

Mr. Zera was especially proud of his annual Buffalo Star Ball that would bring professional ballroom dancers from around the world to Buffalo for competitions.

The Zeras retired in 2002 after Mr. Zera suffered two heart attacks.

Catherine Zera died Nov. 29 following a long illness. They were married 55 years.

Mr. Zera is survived by two sons, Thomas L. of Williamsville and Michael L. of Orem, Utah; several brothers and sisters in Syracuse; and three grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at 4 p.m. next Saturday in Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, Amherst.

[BECKER]

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