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John S. Wactawski, teacher, physical therapist
Aug. 1, 1928 -- Oct. 23, 2008

John S. Wactawski, a retired teacher and physical therapist, died Thursday in Beechwood Nursing Home, Getzville, after a lengthy illness. He was 80.

A lifelong North Tonawanda resident, he was a 1946 graduate of North Tonawanda High School, where he excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track.

In 1952, he earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from the University of Buffalo, where he played football. He also earned a degree in physical therapy from UB, as well as a master's degree in education.

A certified athletic trainer, Mr. Wactawski served in the Army from 1954 to 1956 and was stationed in Fort Jackson, S.C.

For 30 years, he taught physical education in the City of Tonawanda schools, where he also was the freshman football coach for many years. He retired in 1983.

Mr. Wactawski also practiced physical therapy out of his home office for 37 years, retiring in 1991.

He was a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the Third Ward Club, AMVETS and North Presbyterian Church of North Tonawanda.

Mr. Wactawski -- who was inducted into the first class of the North Tonawanda Football Hall of Fame -- enjoyed playing sports throughout his life, and in his senior years competed in the Empire State Senior Games, where he won eight gold and silver medals in volleyball.

Surviving are his wife of 56 years, the former Elizabeth "Betty" Ramsay; three daughters, Barbara Julien, Jean Wactawski-Wende and Gail Tylec; and a sister, Antoinette Midzinski.

A memorial service will be at 7 p.m. today in North Presbyterian Church, 168 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda.


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