June 7, 1931 – Nov. 17, 2014
William G. Ziegler, a Korean War veteran who was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart for gallantry in action, died Monday at his Williamsville residence. He was 83.
Born in Buffalo, he graduated from Seneca Vocational High School, where he lettered in football, baseball and basketball. He was a member of the Seneca championship basketball team that won the Yale Cup in 1949. He attended Buffalo State College and worked at the Buffalo Zoo before being called to duty in the Korean War in 1952.
Mr. Ziegler was a private first class with the Army’s 1st Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division stationed near Kumhwa, Korea.
In May 1953, he was serving as radio operator with a reconnaissance patrol advancing close to enemy lines. The soldiers were ambushed and the patrol leader and his assistant were separated from their unit. Mr. Ziegler assumed command and, despite heavy enemy fire, led the group in search of the missing men. Although wounded in this action, he continued to direct the unit and guided the 11 surviving men back to the safety of their base camp.
Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, 8th Army commanding general, pinned the Silver Star, the country’s third-highest military honor, on Mr. Ziegler, who was promoted to corporal.
“I never thought that night that anything like this would result from this little firefight,” he told a Buffalo News reporter.
Returning home in 1954, Mr. Ziegler attended Syracuse University, where he played on the freshman basketball team. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Buffalo.
He worked as a claims adjuster for Insurance Company of North America and later joined a partner in forming Dunn-Well Inc., a Buffalo company that restored used sports equipment.
In the late 1960s, he was instrumental in starting a Service Master franchise, a cleaning and disaster restoration business that merged with Enviro-Care in 1987. After a 42-year career in the restoration industry, he retired in 2001.
Mr. Ziegler was an avid golfer and a member of the UB Alumni Association.
He is survived by three daughters, Jacqueline DeAlessandrini, Susan, and Gretchen Krieger; and three grandchildren.
A memorial Mass will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 5480 Main St., Williamsville.