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Herbert Bellamy, a special man Businessman, community leader, elected official, he made Buffalo a better place

Herbert L. Bellamy Sr. did just about everything he possibly could for Buffalo. His passing leaves a legacy of public service that few equaled.

In 1954, he started as a liquor store deliveryman. He bought the store on East Ferry in 1965, where it still operates today, and went on to create a dozen businesses. Stop and think about that for a moment. One of 12 children in a Burgaw, N.C., sharecropper family, the Marine Corps veteran built businesses in his own underserved community at a time when that meant running uphill. That by itself might have been plenty for most people, but not Mr. Bellamy. He founded 1490 Enterprises in 1969 as an antidote to racism and the decade's riots. That community group helped more people than anyone can count, focusing on housing, black achievement, aiding young people and the elderly. But he didn't stop there, either. He served eight years on the Common Council; on the state Commission on Judicial Conduct; the Peace Bridge Authority; and a host of business and private boards, including as a Canisius College trustee.

Already from a large family -- his mother, Mattie, survives, -- he and his wife, Irene, raised six children, but his family extended all over Buffalo and beyond. No one, not even Mr. Bellamy himself, could catalog all the good works he infused the lives of others with. But those who met or knew him feel in their heart that the list was indeed long.

Said his friend and political ally, former Deputy Assembly Speaker Arthur O. Eve: "He was always about helping people and making a difference in people's lives."

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