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Judge John J. Honan, mainstay of Erie County Family Court

Dec. 27, 1923 – April 18, 2016

Judge John J. Honan, who presided in Erie County Family Court for 17 years, died Monday in Northgate Health Center, North Tonawanda. He was 92.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of St. Thomas School, South Park High School and Canisius College.

He served in the Army Air Forces and the 78th Infantry Division during World War II and saw action in the Ardennes and Rhineland campaigns in Europe.

Returning from service, he earned his juris doctor degree from Georgetown University Law School, began practicing law in 1950 and was with the firm of Honan, Kane and McLoughlin in 1963 when he was named first assistant to District Attorney Michael F. Dillon.

In 1972, he was appointed a Buffalo City Court Judge by Mayor Frank Sedita, lost a bid for a full term that November, was reappointed to the court in 1973 and won election to the bench as a Democrat later that year. He set a record for disposing of 154 matters in one day while overseeing the court’s arraignment part in 1974.

Honan was elected to a 10-year term in Family Court in 1975 and served as a State Supreme Court justice and an acting Erie County Surrogate Court judge during his Family Court terms.

He also was the supervising judge at Family Court from July 1988 to May 1989. He retired in 1993.

A longtime South Buffalo resident, he was active in Holy Family Catholic Church and served as president of the Mercy Hospital Men’s Sustaining Society.

He also took great pleasure in his Irish heritage and attended many Irish events. In retirement, he and his wife of 54 years, the former Marilyn Wiest, were active members of St. John’s Travel Club. She died in 2005.

Survivors include three sons, David, Dennis and John C.; two daughters, Marianne and Carolyn Chaiko; a sister, Mary Fitzgerald; 19 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, 4220 Seneca St., West Seneca.

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