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Gilbert R. Falk, 99, steelworker, union leader; Sept. 19, 1912 -- Sept. 26, 2011

Gilbert R. Falk of the Town of Tonawanda, a retired Republic Steel office worker and union leader, died Monday in Autumn View Health Care Facility in Hamburg. He was 99.

Born in Buffalo, he attended Riverside High School before going to work at a very young age.

He worked in the office of Wickwire Spencer Steel Co. for 30 years and retired as a worker in the metallurgical office at Republic Steel in 1977 after 13 years of service.

Mr. Falk was a former president of Steelworkers Local 3823. While on business for the union in Washington, D.C., in the 1950s, Mr. Falk shook hands with three future U.S. presidents -- Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts; Speaker of the House Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

He was a member of the Kenmore Council Knights of Columbus.

His wife of 65 years, the former Mary E. Sheedy, died in 2004.

He is survived by two daughters, Susan E. Bednarski and Joanne M.; and a son, James A.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Timothy Catholic Church, 565 East Park Drive, Town of Tonawanda.

[MCNEIL]