March 21, 1926 – April 28, 2016
John Munich, of Lackawanna, who came up with the concept of a corn festival for the Town of Eden, died March 21 in Seneca Health Care Center, West Seneca. He was 90.
Born in Lackawanna, he went into business with his father, Stojan, after attending Lackawanna High School. First they ran the Rendezvous Bar in Lakeview, then purchased the Garden of Eden on Route 62 in Eden in 1950. He sold it when his father retired in 1965.
Mr. Munich worked as an appliance salesman for the Big N store in the South Shore Plaza in Hamburg until 1975 and tended bar at Braymiller’s Lanes in Hamburg until 1983. He worked on the security force at what then was Rich Stadium until he retired in 1998.
A lifelong sports enthusiast, he managed the Lackawanna team in the Buffalo News Suburban League in the late 1940s and led the drive to install lights in Lackawanna Stadium. In the late 1950s, he was active in promoting special group nights for Buffalo Bisons baseball games, contributing to their league-leading attendance figures in 1958.
He managed Little League baseball in Eden for seven years. He did public relations for the Buffalo Breskis professional women’s softball team in 1976, when they led their league in attendance. During the 1980s, he wrote a weekly newspaper sports column for the Hamburg Sun and the Front Page newspaper in Lackawanna.
During the 1940s, he played bass with the Happy Hearts Tamburitza Orchestra in Lackawanna. While living in Eden, after the town’s 150th anniversary celebration in 1962, he brought the idea of holding an annual corn festival to the Chamber of Commerce. The first Eden Corn Festival took place in 1964.
In his later years, he enjoyed dancing and met his wife, Joan, at a dance at the Matthew Glab American Legion Post in Lackawanna. They were married in 2002.
In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, John S. “Jack” and Daniel; a step-son, Jeffery Bolhasson; a step-daughter, Dewi Rainey; six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Services will be held at 12:30 p.m. Monday in St. Stephen Serbian Orthodox Church, Abbott and Weber roads, Lackawanna.