Sebastian J. "Red" Rosica, a longtime advocate for the hearing-impaired, died Thursday in Palm Desert, Calif., after an unexpected lllness. He was 80.
Born in Batavia, Mr. Rosica was 1944 class valedictorian at Batavia High School and was attending Canisius College when World War II broke out. He served as an Army staff sergeant during the war.
After the war, he resumed his studies at Canisius and continued his work with students at St. Mary's School for the Deaf. He also earned a master's degree in education for the deaf at the University of Buffalo in 1950 and later a master's degree in audiology and speech pathology from Northwestern University.
A Clarence resident, Mr. Rosica returned to St. Mary's in the early 1950s and designed the school's first hearing clinic. He later joined the faculty at Canisius, where he stayed for 30 years, and the Buffalo Otological Group.
Over the years, Mr. Rosica became widely known for his contributions and research in the fields of genetics and deafness.
After his retirement in 1991, he focused his energy on philanthropy and served on dozens of boards throughout the Buffalo area, including the board of trustees at St. Mary's and Canisius. He also was a founding member of the McGowan-Gin-Rosica Family Foundation.
Survivors include his wife, the former Lenore McGowan; four sons, Francis, Mark, Joseph and Dan; and two daughters, Marianne Brand and Kathryn.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, 10950 Main St., Clarence.