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John L. Hoelscher, ran furniture company April 21, 1920 -- Feb. 25, 2006

A Mass of Christian Burial for John L. Hoelscher will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 200 St. Gregory Court, Amherst.

Burial will be in Williamsville Cemetery.

Mr. Hoelscher, of Williamsville, former president and chairman of the board of Hoelschers, an office furniture supply company, died Saturday in Buffalo General Hospital after a short illness. He was 85.

Born in Buffalo, he lived in Amherst for most of his life. He was a 1938 graduate of St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. After his graduation from the University of Notre Dame in 1942, he spent World War II on the Bell Aircraft Corp. aerodynamics engineering team, which developed the first jet aircraft in the United States, the XP-59 Airacomet.

"It was such a secret project," said a daughter, Colleen Bogdan of Williamsville, "that they put a wooden propeller on it" when transferring it from Western New York to Arizona for a test flight.

Mr. Hoelscher was part of his family-owned office supply company from 1945 until it was purchased in 1988 by Eaton Office Supply of Buffalo.

He was an original trustee of St. Gregory parish and assisted at the first parish Mass, celebrated atop a flat-bed truck set up against a barn. He was a past president of the Buffalo Executives Association and the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Buffalo, was an Amherst Recreation Commissioner, and served the Knights of Columbus. He was a 21-gallon Red Cross blood donor.

Mr. Hoelscher was an active curler at the Buffalo Curling Club along with former wife, the former Patricia Hagerty, who died several years ago. He was a 45-year member of the Brookfield County Club and enjoyed winter tee-offs in Sarasota, Fla.

Surviving are his wife of 23 years, Carole Ward Hoelscher, and their 11 children, John of Cheektowaga, James of Alden, Patricia of Evans, Susan Sweeney of Clarence, Gregory of East Aurora, Michael Ward of Monte Rio, Calif., Patrick Ward of Richmond, Va., Colleen Bogdan of Williamsville, Kevin Ward of Sanford, Fla., and Sheila Bunda and Daniel Ward, both of Kenmore; two sisters, Claire Sigurdson of Williamsville and Margurite Baker of Newark, Del.; 29 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.


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