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Edmund H. Clabeaux, 96, owner-operator of optical business
Jan. 17, 1913 -- Feb. 4, 2009

Edmund H. Clabeaux of Elma, a retired optician, died Wednesday in Mercy Hospital. He was 96.

Born in Buffalo, Mr. Clabeaux began his optical career as a stock boy for Buffalo Optical in the late 1920s. He moved up to working in the company's grinding and lens-finishing labs, and eventually became a dispensing optician. Mr. Clabeaux also fitted customers for hearing aids.

His career in the eye care industry was interrupted by World War II, when Mr. Clabeaux served in the Army. He was stationed with a medical unit in England from 1943 to 1946. After the war, he resumed his position with Buffalo Optical.

Mr. Clabeaux started his own business, Clabeaux Optical, on the second floor of the Genesee Building in the early 1950s. He opened another office in the Elma Village Shopping Center in the mid-1960s. Mr. Clabeaux relocated his downtown Buffalo office to the French Lea Clinton Plaza in West Seneca in 1970.

He was among the first local opticians to dispense contact lenses. Mr. Clabeaux was a member and officer of the New York State Society of Dispensing Opticians, the board that sets policy for licensed opticians in the state.

He officially retired in 1980 but continued to work in the stores he previously owned until 2002.

Mr. Clabeaux was an accomplished pianist who started playing with his high school dance band at Masten Park High School. He graduated in 1931. He later played with other local bands. He was a member of the East Aurora Country Club and the Elma Kiwanis Club.

His wife of 64 years, the former Evelyn B. Kornprobst, died in 2005.

He is survived by a daughter, Ann Fintak; and a son, James E.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday in Annunciation Catholic Church, 7580 Clinton St., Elma.

[MCNEIL]

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