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Mary R. Lipinski, 94, active in Polonia District; Sept. 5, 1917 -- Feb. 24, 2012

Mary R. Lipinski of Buffalo, an active resident of the Polonia District, died Friday in Buffalo General Medical Center after a brief illness. She was 94.

Born Mary Rose Haloff in Buffalo, she lived her entire life on Buffalo's Polish East Side.

She attended St. Stanislaus Parish School until seventh grade, when she ended her formal education to take jobs as a house cleaner to support her family. She worked at Otminski Bakery at Coit and Peckham streets and as a sales associate at Kobacker's Department Store at both the Broadway and Main Street locations working in the infant, men's and holiday departments. She also worked as a cleaner at School 31 on Stanton Street.

Mrs. Lipinski was a lifelong member of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Catholic Church, where she assumed leadership positions with the Mother's Club, Society of the Sacred Heart, the Rosary Society and the Altar Boys Mother's Club.

She was a 40-year member of the St. Stanislaus Parish Choir and president of the Pallottine Fathers Society. In 2005, during the course of renovations to the historic interior of St. Stanislaus, Mrs. Lipinski, along with a number of other parishioners, protested the moving of the church's altar away from its traditional location.

She was a member of the Fillmore District Republican Club and an Erie County elections inspector for more than 30 years.

Mrs. Lipinski was an active member of senior programs at the Valley Community Center, the former St. Rita and St. Patrick Parish and the Sloan Senior Center. In the early 1970s, she was a founding member of the St. Stan's Sunshine Club for seniors.

She was an avid rummy card player, loved bingo and was an expert at cooking traditional Polish "soul food" including pierogi, golabki, nalesniki and kluski.

"My grandmother was very proud about not moving out of the East Side while others escaped to the suburbs in the '70s and '80s. She would often say, 'This is my neighborhood, why should I be the one to leave?' " said Marty Biniasz. "In recent years, she took great pride in efforts to reinvent the Polonia District and to keep institutions like the Broadway Market, Central Terminal and St. Stan's alive."

Her husband of 59 years, Roman, died in 1995.

Survivors include her son, Paul London, and daughter, Joann Biniasz.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Tuesday in St. Stanislaus Church, 123 Townsend St.