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John K. Park, retired school music teacher

Oct. 29, 1934 – Oct. 27, 2013

John K. Park, of the Town of Tonawanda, a retired music teacher in the North Tonawanda schools, died Sunday, two days before his 79th birthday, in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a struggle with cancer.

Mr. Park taught music at all levels in the North Tonawanda school system for nearly 30 years and directed numerous student ensembles. In 1999, he was inducted into the North Tonawanda Visual and Performing Arts Wall of Fame.

Born in Nyack, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Fredonia State Teachers College in 1957 and master’s degree in music education from the University of Vermont in 1963. An Army veteran, he was a member of the Army All-American Band at West Point.

A talented French horn player, he performed with the Amherst and Cheektowaga orchestras and the Erie County Wind Ensemble. He also was a substitute player with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. During the holiday season, he and his “horn buddies” would play Christmas music at local nursing homes.

Mr. Park also was a sailing enthusiast and a longtime member of the Niagara Sailing Club, serving as commodore in 1980. In the 1970s, he was one of the volunteers from the club who helped organize the Red Cross “Sailing for the Blind” program.

In retirement, he completely restored a 1952 Lyman boat with the Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Society. He enjoyed fishing with his son on the Niagara River and with his grandchildren in Red Bay, Ont. He also was a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

Survivors include his wife, the former Carol Petz; a son, Jonathan; two daughters, Susan Sanbury and Barbara Leggett; and a sister, Kimberly Park Leitner.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1085 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda.

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