Aug. 14, 1957 – April 30, 2017
Stephen J. Podosek, executive producer of the Variety Kids Telethon for 20 years and a dedicated fundraiser for children with disabilities, died Sunday in his Cheektowaga home after a short illness. He was 59.
Born in Buffalo, the oldest of eight children, he was a graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University at Buffalo.
Mr. Podosek began working as a volunteer on the annual telethon as a teenager and he served as executive producer from 1994 to 2013.
“If there’s one legacy that Steve has with children charities it’s that he wanted to make sure that the word was out there and to celebrate the lives of these children. This wasn’t just about fundraising or ‘woe is me’,” former WKBW-TV program director John Di Sciullo told the Cheektowaga Chronicle.
As administrative and computer specialist at Variety Club headquarters, Mr. Podosek in 1996 made it the first charity in New York State and the first Variety Club in the world to have a website.
He also was active in the Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster, co-chaired the Lancaster Fourth of July celebration and was an administrator for the House of Horrors and Haunted Catacombs.
He appeared in the 2012 independent film “House of Horrors: The Gates of Hell,” which used the annual Halloween attraction as a backdrop.
For his project to become an Eagle Scout, he opened a church food pantry that is still in operation.
A dedicated Buffalo Bills, Sabres and Bandits fan, he also enjoyed cruises, cooking, computers and Disney.
Survivors include his wife of 12 years, the former Cheryl Cochrane; and six sisters, Mary Luckman, Michele Keller, Lisa Scherer, Tara Leone, Heather Scherer and Melissa Miller.
Services will be held at 7 p.m. today in Amigone Funeral Home, 569 Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga.