Nov. 25, 1925-April 30, 2017
John J. Szenina, a member of the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame, died April 30 at his Buffalo home. He was 91.
Mr. Szenina was born in the Woodlawn Hotel where his family lived. He grew up in Lackawanna, and lived in South Buffalo for 63 years.
He served in the Army during World War II, and worked at Bethlehem Steel as a scarfer for 37 years.
On Dec. 26, 1977, the Buffalo Courier-Express described how Mr. Szenina and two other men saved a mother's two children by catching them from the third-story window of a burning house in Blasdell. He was driving home with two friends from Bethlehem Steel from their annual Christmas Eve celebrations, when they saw the flames, and convinced the mother to drop the children into their arms. The woman also jumped to the ground.
After he retired he was a bus aide for Buffalo Public Schools.
Mr. Szenina enjoyed playing softball, and was the third baseman for a number of local teams. He and his late brother, George, were inducted into the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame on Nov. 25, 1978.
He also played golf and bowled, and was fond of riding his bicycle. Until he was 85, he often rode his bike from his home near South Park High School to pay bills at Southgate Plaza in West Seneca, said his daughter, Sharon Savage.
He attended elementary school at Father Baker School in Lackawanna. He also received his First Communion from Father Nelson Baker at Our Lady of Victory Basilica in 1933, which was the priest's final communion class.
Mr. Szenina volunteered at St. Agatha's, where he was also a member of the St. Agatha's Senior Club. He also volunteered for Meals on Wheels, and was a member of Matthew Glab Post 1477, American Legion.
He was preceded in death by his wife, the former Miriam Lou Rae, in 1997.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Shelley Wagner; three sisters, Mary Peters, Helen Brown and Anne Borowiec; one brother, Frank; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:15 a.m. on May 20 at Our Lady of Victory Basilica, 767 Ridge Rd., Lackawanna.