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Victor E. Manz, longtime Family Court judge

April 18, 1921 – April 21, 2016

Victor E. Manz, an Erie County Family Court judge for 16 years, Buffalo mayoral candidate and World War II veteran, died Thursday in his Amherst home. He was 95.

Born in Black Rock, Mr. Manz was a graduate of School 51, Riverside High School and the University of Buffalo.

He was a star athlete in high school and college and the starting quarterback, safety and punter for the University of Buffalo football team.

Mr. Manz served in the Army as a sergeant with the 3rd Armored Division during World War II and saw action in France, Belgium and Germany.

Returning from service, he completed his undergraduate degree and then earned his juris doctor degree from the University of Buffalo Law School, while serving as the UB freshman football coach. He began his practice of law in 1950 with the late Matthew J. Jasen and later practiced law with the firm of Jasen, Manz, Johnson and Bayger. All four members of the firm became state-level judges.

In 1953, he began his public service by representing the Black Rock–Riverside neighborhoods on the Erie County Board of Supervisors. In 1957, Mr. Manz was then elected as North District representative to the Buffalo Common Council.

In 1961, Mr. Manz ran for mayor of Buffalo as the independent Democratic candidate and beat the incumbent mayor, Frank A. Sedita, in the Democratic primary. Sedita re-entered the general election race as an independent candidate, splitting the Democratic vote and paving the way for the election of the last Republican mayor of Buffalo, Chester Kowal.

After that election, Mr. Manz continued his practice of law, later with his nephew, the late Richard S. Manz.

In 1976, he was elected to a 10-year term in Family Court and re-elected in 1986. Mr. Manz received many awards and accolades from bar associations and Family Court practitioners. During that time he also served as an acting State Supreme Court justice. He retired in 1992.

A longtime North Buffalo resident, Mr. Manz was active in Assumption Parish and served in numerous organizations in his Black Rock-Riverside community. He took great pride in his Polish heritage and attended many Polish events.

Mr. Manz was an avid and accomplished angler and was never far from his home waters, the upper Niagara River and Lake Erie.

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Claire; a son, Buffalo City Court Judge David M.; a daughter, Claire Lahan; and three grandchildren.

Services were private. A memorial service will be held this summer.

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