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William R. Towery Jr., Cheektowaga police captain

May 27, 1927 – Sept. 25, 2013

William R. Towery Jr., of Cheektowaga, a World War II veteran and retired captain with the Cheektowaga Police Department, died Wednesday at Sisters Hospital – St. Joseph Campus after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 86.

He was born in Rhode Island and as a child moved around the East Coast with his family during the Depression. They settled in Western New York, where he lived for most of his adult life.

In 1945, at age 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as an information and education specialist for two years on troop ships in the European Theater. He advanced to the rank of corporal before returning home to civilian life and a career as a master plasterer.

In 1950, following a courtship begun on a blind date, he married Ruth E. Walsh.

After a career in the building trades, he decided to train to become a police officer and joined the Cheektowaga department in 1963. He retired in 1984.

One notable highlight of his police service occurred when he was not on duty. One day he was home on his lunch break, enjoying a sandwich at the kitchen table, when a man burst through the door. Mr. Towery immediately realized the man was likely a robber he heard about earlier on the police scanner who was being pursued after fleeing after a nearby store holdup.

He took the unlucky criminal into custody.

Mr. Towery was an avid bowler and enjoyed reading, woodworking, painting and genealogy. He was a longtime member of the Forks Volunteer Fire Company.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Patricia Owcarzak and Kathleen Schall; and son, William R. III.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday in Queen of Martyrs Church, 180 George Urban Blvd., Cheektowaga.