June 23, 1964 – June 10, 2017
If Thomas S. Kozoduj wanted something, he was the kind of guy who would take to the road and go after it.
It was what the Orchard Park resident did in 1987, when he decided to leave a job for the love of his life, and again in 1990, when he was determined to be there when the Buffalo Bills faced off against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium.
Mr. Kozoduj, a certified public accountant and longtime financial manager for the FBI's Buffalo Division, died June 10 at his home. He was 52.
Jim Geisendorfer of Michigan was a longtime friend of the avid Bills fan since the two first met at Canisius College, where the Buffalo-born Mr. Kozoduj earned a bachelor of science degree in 1986. Geisendorfer recalled his friend's doggedness in scoring a ticket to the Bills' very first trip to the Super Bowl.
"Tom got in his car with another friend and they drove to Tampa all night, without tickets, and they went to that first Super Bowl. They managed to score some tickets when they got there and they saw what was the first of four heartbreaking losses," Geisendorfer said.
Mr. Kozoduj repeated the pilgrimage a second straight year, that time driving all night from Buffalo to Minneapolis, Minn., to see the Bills' match up against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome, a further testament to Mr. Kozoduj's loyalty, Geisendorfer said.
"That's a pretty significant fan. He didn't do it for the last two, but I think it was a good demonstration of his loyalty," he added. "And to do it with no ticket or anything was kind of risky."
Mr. Kozoduj was even more determined a few years earlier, after he had graduated from Canisius and took on a job as an auditor with Wometco Theaters in Miami. It meant leaving behind Judith Stiller, the girlfriend he had been dating since he was a sophomore at Maryvale High School in Cheektowaga.
"It was basically his first career job down there. That only lasted a year-and-a-half, because his love for Judi brought him back to Buffalo," said Geisendorfer.
The couple married in 1988.
Mr. Kozoduj worked for several area certified public accountants before taking a job with the FBI, eventually moving up to the position he sardonically referred to as the "no guy" to ensure the fiscal integrity of the division.
"He handled basically anything that needed approval, from paperclips to bullets. Everything had to go through my dad, any purchases that the FBI Buffalo Division had made," said Victoria R. Kozoduj, his daughter.
Mr. Kozoduj played in local softball and bowling leagues, and coached youth sports. He also enjoyed traveling, doted on his dog, Lola, and was a fan of local breweries and craft beers.
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by his daughter Elizabeth L.; a son, Zachary T.; his mother, Carole Weigel, and his father, Stanley.
A service was held June 14 in Queen of Heaven Catholic Church.
Story topics: obituary