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Robert Pacholski, coached St. Francis teams to championships

Aug. 15, 1943 – April 12, 2013

Robert Pacholski of Buffalo, whose 29-year career at St. Francis High School included coaching several athletic teams to championships, died unexpectedly Friday in Mercy Hospital. He was 69.

A lifelong resident of Buffalo, Mr. Pacholski was a graduate of St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute and earned a bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University at Buffalo. He also did graduate studies in political philosophy and educational administration.

A teacher of physics and business law, among other subjects, Mr. Pacholski began his teaching and coaching career at Cardinal Dougherty High School in Buffalo in 1967, after working for the staff of the Buffalo Common Council. He coached cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field. He led the school’s cross-county team to its first Monsignor Martin Catholic High School Athletic Association championship in 1979.

Mr. Pacholski also served as Cardinal Dougherty’s sports information director before joining the faculty of St. Francis High School in Athol Springs in 1979.

At St. Francis, Mr. Pacholski served as director of sports information, director of development, assistant principal and vice president for institutional advancement. For the five years preceding his retirement in 2008, he was director of communications.

In 2008, the school awarded him the Father Justin Figas Distinguished Communicator Award. He also had received the Father Justin Figas Memorial Award for his work at the school in the late 1980s and was inducted into the Father Rufinus Niedzwiecki Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

In 1980, he coached the Red Raiders to their first Monsignor Martin “AA” cross-country championship. The following year, he helped lead the track and field team to its first “AA” title.

He also coached the bowling team to a title in 1980-81.

As a coach, he helped many athletes to pursue collegiate running careers. Before retiring from coaching in 1999, he led the track and field team to regular season and All-Catholic titles.

He served as chairman of cross-country and track and field for the Monsignor Martin league for several years. He also coached the Canisius College indoor and outdoor track and field teams in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Mr. Pacholski founded and coordinated the Broadway-Fillmore Turkey Day road race in the 1970s and the Evening Optimist Club High School Invitational Cross-Country Meet in the 1980s. He also worked on the Big E Relays and Jesse Owens Meet committees for several years.

Sports editor for 15 years at the Am-Pol Eagle, he also was a reporter for the Courier-Express. In the 1970s, he worked a year for the administration of Mayor Stanley Makowski.

An Am-Pol Eagle Citizen of the Year in Sports in the late 1970s, Mr. Pacholski more recently was inducted into St. Joseph Collegiate Institute’s Sports Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was among outstanding Polish-American athletes and leaders in sports recognized by the General Pulaski Association.

Active in the Polish Union of America as president of the Father Justin Society in the 1970s, Mr. Pacholski was instrumental in gaining recognition of the Father Justin Rosary Hour through a historical marker at Corpus Christi Church.

He was a parishioner at Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Church in Cheektowaga.

Survivors include his wife, the former Suzanne Borcuch.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, 2158 Clinton St.

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