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Henry Gajewski, former Twin District fire chief, decorated World War II vet

March 16, 1920 – June 19, 2016

Henry Gajewski, a former chief of the Twin District Fire Company in Lancaster and a member for 74 years, died Sunday in Palm Coast, Fla., where he had been a resident since last October. He was 96.

Born in Buffalo, the second of four boys, all of whom played AA baseball in the 1930s and served in World War II, he was a graduate of Seneca Vocational High School.

Mr. Gajewski joined the volunteer fire company in 1942, the year before he was inducted into the Army for World War II.

An active firefighter for 22 years, he served as chief from 1949 to 1953 and again from 1955 to 1964.

A private first class with the 137th Infantry in the 35th Infantry Division, he was an artillery gunner, seeing action in the Normandy, northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe campaigns.

Twice wounded, he received the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster.

Returning from service, he worked for a few years for the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad and started an auto collision repair shop, Hank’s Garage, on William Street next to his home in Lancaster.

Later, he managed the collision shop for Delacy Dodge and Scott Aviation’s Wheel and Wing collision shop on Erie Street in Lancaster.

In the 1970s, he worked for Sinclair Collision, then again had his own shop, D&H Collision, in Buffalo and later on Genesee Street in Cheektowaga.

He was a longtime member of Lancaster Post 7275, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

His first wife, the former Frieda Racki, died in the 1970s. He was remarried about 25 years ago to the former Eleanor Morgan.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a daughter, Gloria Lomas; a granddaughter and a great-granddaughter.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in Trinity Episcopal Church, 5448 Broadway, Lancaster.

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