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Russell Andolina Sr., police detective, WWII vet

April 9, 1925 - Jan. 9, 2016

Russell Andolina Sr., a retired Buffalo police detective, former security guard and World War II Army Air Forces veteran, died Jan. 9 in West Palm Beach, Fla., from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 90.

Mr. Andolina was born in Brant and graduated from Grover Cleveland High School in Buffalo.

During the war, he was stationed at Pearl Harbor and served as a tailgunner aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress. After the war, he was reassigned as a teletype operator at the 13th Replenishment Depot in Wahiawa, Hawaii. He rose to the rank of technical sergeant.

Mr. Andolina served in the Buffalo Police Department for 26 years, first as a patrolman, then a detective and was a lieutenant when he retired in 1979.

He was a security guard at Georgia Institute of Technology before returning to Buffalo to work as a security officer for Burke Security. In 1982, while working for Burke, Mr. Andolina thwarted a robbery of an armored car carrying more than $400,000.

Mr. Andolina was a longtime member of a private social club with other Buffalo Police veterans and was a life member of Pvt. Leonard Post Jr. Veterans of Foreign Wars.

He enjoyed crossword puzzles, building models and doll houses and collecting toy train sets.

Mr. Andolina moved to Florida in 2012. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but was able to remain fully engaged with his loved ones until the end of his life. He was a member of St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Elma.

His wife of 39 years, the former Jane Giardina, died in 1990.

Survivors include a son, Russell Jr.; one daughter, Linda Murphy; a sister, Rose Graci; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held in Western New York in August.

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