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Francis Eugene Benbenek, retired school principal

Dec. 22, 1932 – Feb. 19, 2015

Francis “Frank” Eugene Benbenek, retired school principal at School 44 Lincoln Academy, died Thursday in his Cheektowaga home after an illness of several months. He was 82.

Born in Buffalo, he attended Bishop Ryan High School and graduated from Canisius College in 1954. He served in the Army from 1954 to 1956 in Panama. After completing studies at the University of Buffalo and University of Michigan, he returned to his alma mater and received a master’s degree in education from Canisius in 1963.

Throughout his life, Mr. Benbenek served on numerous boards and was active in many parishes and cultural organizations. He was a lifetime member of the SS. Peter and Paul Athletic Club.

After jobs with Westinghouse and Sperry Rand, Mr. Benbenek taught at Buffalo Public Schools 34 and 4, and Southside Junior High School. He served as assistant principal at Schools 79 and West Hertel Middle School before becoming principal of School 44, Lincoln Academy from 1972 to 1990. In that role, he touched many lives and built programs and facilities that enriched the community he served.

He enjoyed fishing, golfing, camping and following his local sports teams. An accomplished woodworker, he made and refinished furniture and built his own canoe. Hobbies also included making wine and traveling.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Irene Sicienski; three sons, John, Lawrence and Vincent; a daughter, Mary Williamson; four sisters, Patricia Zukowski, Rita Szpara, Bernadette Sacilowski and Sister Mary Jacqueline Benbenek; 11 grandchildren; and father figure to Peter May.

A celebration of his life will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. March 13 in Pietszak Funeral Home, 2400 William St., Cheektowaga, followed by a memorial Mass at 11:30 a.m. March 14 in St. Phillip the Apostle Catholic Church, 950 Losson Road, Cheektowaga.

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