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Raymond M. Sobkowiak, former vocalist June 21, 1940 -- March 23, 2006

Raymond M. Sobkowiak of Depew, a retired factory worker and vocalist in local bands, died Thursday in the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Cheektowaga, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 65.

Known as "Soapy," Mr. Sobkowiak was born in Buffalo and was a factory worker at Nabisco for 40 years, retiring in 1999.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, he performed with local rock and rhythm and blues bands, some of which also featured his siblings. He sang with the Vibratones, Soapy and the Flares, Soapy Waters Blues Band and Stone Bridge, performing at venues that included Janicki's Little House, Tin Pan Alley, Wa-Ha-Ki Hotel and The Mug.

His interests included upholstery work, wood and plastic crafts, and glass etching. He was a member of Macaroon's Social Club and Fraternal Order of Eagles.

His wife, the former Louise Sierakowski, died in 1999.

Survivors include a daughter, Sandra Imiola of Lancaster; a son, Randy of Cheektowaga; two brothers, Daniel and Paul, both of Clearwater, Fla.; and five grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church, 4125 Union Road, Cheektowaga, following prayers at 9 in Pacer Funeral Home, 2275 George Urban Blvd., Depew. Inurnment will be in the mausoleum at Our Lady Help of Christians Cemetery.

[HABUDA]

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