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William R. Nunz Sr., founder of Lake Steel

Sept. 27, 1932 - Sept. 22, 2012

William R. Nunz Sr., founder and president of Lake Steel, died Saturday in the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Cheektowaga. He was 79.

The Rochester native was a graduate of Fosdick-Masten Park High School and was a Golden Gloves boxer. He served in the Marine Corps from 1951 to 1954, during the Korean War, and became an ironworker at Bethlehem Steel following his discharge.

In 1955, Mr. Nunz joined the Buffalo Police Department while still holding a second job as an ironworker. He served on the force until 1959, when he founded Lake Steel Erections, later renamed Lake Steel.

The Cheektowaga-based company became one of the fastest-growing steel erector, rigging and equipment rental companies in New York, at times employing as many as 150 workers.

The construction and rental company was involved in all facets of structural steel erection, heavy and industrial equipment rental and leasing, emergency railroad service, and drilling and blasting.

Mr. Nunz was in the process of phasing out the business, selling off much of the property and heavy equipment.

The Amherst resident is survived by his wife of 29 years, the former Mary Jane Schnapp; four daughters, Kathleen Danheiser, Deborah Benedict, Wendy Fecher and Tambra; two sons, Michael and William Jr.; a stepson, David Shatzel Jr.; and a stepdaughter, Susan Burke.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in St. Benedict Catholic Church, 1317 Eggert Road at Main Street, Eggertsville.

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