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SCHMAND, James Thomas, Sr.

SCHMAND, James Thomas, Sr.

SCHMAND - James Thomas, Sr. Born September 27, 1928, died October 24, 2015, from complications of a life well lived. Survived by his loving and understanding wife of 64 years, Mary Catherine (nee Rust); six children, James, Jr., Michael, Timothy, Mary Ann, Catherine and Kathleen; 16 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren; his sister Carole Ann MacDonald (nee Dusac); and cronies and golf buddies too numerous to count - loved by many, he gave much in return. Jimmy's death leaves a void in this world. Jimmy was a child of the Roaring Twenties. His father, Fred Schmand, boxed under the nom de guerre Mickey O'Donnell. Fred met Jim's mother, Veronica O'Neil at a party hosted by former middle-weight champion Jimmy Goodrich. Veronica was Goodrich's cousin; Fred, a Goodrich prote;ge;. Their marriage lasted just long enough to produce little Jimmy and a lifelong antagonism. His earliest memory was a boarding house in Philadelphia, where the family had traveled for a prize fight. Jimmy was raised by Veronica, his stepfather Joe Dusac, and her extended family. The family, second generation Irish, included bookmakers and bootleggers, respected professionals at the time, who when they weren't breaking the law, were busy trimming its edges. After serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Alaska, Jim chose law enforcement as his profession. Starting as a Buffalo beat cop, he rose to Det. Sgt., served in the Erie County District Attorney's office as chief investigator, then joined the U.S. Customs Service. Jim's 20-year customs career took him from Buffalo through New York to Miami with responsibilities in investigations, enforcement, planning and management. His posts included Special Agent-in-Charge at JFK Airport, a brief stint as a Sky Marshall, Director of National Narcotic Board Interdiction Systems for the Southeast Region, and Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge in Miami. Among his favorite assignments in the mid 1960's was guarding Senator Robert Kennedy on his numerous visits to WNY. During one visit, Jim escorted the senator into Walsh's, a storied gin mill and Democratic party clubhouse across from Buffalo's City Hall. Days after the visit, Jim and a buddy slapped a plaque commemorating the event on the back of a chair that may or may not have been the Senator's seat. Great pleasure was taken at an auction just prior to the black day of Walsh's demolition when the bidding for the be-plaqued chair went ever skyward. The chair was finally acquired by a man who would, if given the chance, let you know of his fine taste and great insight. Jim took great solace in Roman Catholicism. A man of action in a challenging profession, church and prayer played prominent roles in his daily life. He carried a gun on his hip and a rosary in his pocket to work every day. The rosary was well worn, the gun rarely fired. He served as a Sunday usher in parishes from Buffalo to Long Island and Hollywood, FL, and rose to the Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus, Fr. M. F. Monahan Council of Hollywood, FL. Jim spent retirement annoying Mary, his loving and understanding wife of 64 years, and pursuing small white balls across greens and fairways around the country, but in no place more religiously than Hollywood, FL, a veritable heaven on earth for the committed golfer. To play a round with Jim required your A-game. He was concerned about your nerves and would jingle the change in his pocket to let you know. He commiserated when you faced a tough shot, letting you know that even for a great golfer, it was a difficult lie. The family will be present at DENGLER, ROBERTS, PERNA
FUNERAL HOME, 3070 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, Friday, November 6, from 4-8 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at St. Rose of Lima RC Church, Saturday, November 7 at 10 AM. Jim will be buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery on a ridge overlooking the intersection of Main St. and Delavan Ave. Please honk as you drive by. Jimmy would get a kick out of that. Memorials to a charity of your choice. www.denglerroberspernafuneral.com

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