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Julian Kozak, carpenter, founded Jul-Ko Products Feb. 5, 1922 -- June 12, 2011

Julian Kozak, founder of Jul-Ko Products, a custom cabinetry business in Williamsville, died June 12 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 89.

Born in Trzciana, Poland, he moved to Buffalo with his family in 1922 when he was just 6 months old. Shortly, thereafter, Mr. Kozak's family moved back to Poland, where he received his primary education.

Mr. Kozak, his brother and two sisters escaped Poland in the midst of World War II. Over seven months in 1946, they stayed in several European cities before returning to the U.S. as American citizens.

Upon his return to Buffalo, Mr. Kozak enrolled at Erie County Technical Institute, the forerunner of Erie Community College, where he received technical training in drafting. He became a carpenter and started a business with his brother, John, making Formica countertops. The business, Plastic Top Fabricators, was located on Military Road and was in operation until the 1970s.

Mr. Kozak started Jul-Ko Products in the 1970s. At Jul-Ko, which was located in Williamsville, Mr. Kozak created cabinetry for medical and dental offices. He retired in the 1990s, and the business, which is now located in Clarence, is operated by a son, Joseph.

Mr. Kozak was member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and built his own airplane in the 1970s.

His wife of 54 years, Dorothy Molenda Kozak, died in 2006.

He is survived by three daughters, JudyAnne Bonafede, Joan Schroeder and Jill Martinez; two sons, Joseph and Jason; and a sister, Stella Kopra.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Friday in S.S. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Williamsville.


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