April 9, 1941 – Sept. 19, 2016
James J. Kirisits, who as Cheektowaga town attorney helped pave the way for the construction of the Walden Galleria shopping mall, died Sept. 19 in his Cheektowaga home after a brief illness. He was 75.
Born in Buffalo, he attended Mother of Divine Grace Elementary School and St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster. He was a graduate of Canisius College and the University at Buffalo Law School.
Mr. Kirisits served in the Army’s 1st Infantry during the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of captain. He was awarded a Bronze Star for valor.
An attorney in private practice for 50 years, Mr. Kirisits was Cheektowaga’s deputy town attorney from 1972 to 1980, when he was appointed to the town’s top legal post. He retired in 1999.
In addition to advocating for the Galleria, he also helped arrange the move of the hall of Pvt. Leonard Post Jr. Post 6251, Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a member of the Erie County and New York State bar associations.
An avid golfer, he was a longtime member of River Oaks Golf Club. He also enjoyed reading, traveling and jazz. He was a devoted Bills and Sabres fan.
Survivors include his wife of 33 years, the former Wendy A. Bryan; two sisters, Rosemary Kartalian and Kathleen A. Pantling; and three brothers, John A. Jr., Daniel L. and Michael J.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Sept. 24 in Infant of Prague Catholic Church, Cheektowaga.