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John M. Svilokos, former Kenmore police lieutenant, businessman

Sept. 21, 1928 – Nov. 14, 2017

John M. Svilokos, a retired Kenmore police officer and businessman, died Nov. 14 under hospice care in his home in Ocala, Fla., after a period of declining health. He was 89.

Born in the Town of Tonawanda, he was a 1947 graduate of Kenmore High School, where he was a standout pole vaulter and a running back on the football team. He began dating an underclassman, Reta Joyce Hagan, after she asked him for his autograph.

They were married in 1951.

Standing 6-foot-2 and known as "Big John," he attended Alfred University on a full football scholarship and served in the Army as a medic in Germany during the Korean War. He later took courses at the University at Buffalo.

Mr. Svilokos served for 23 years with the Kenmore Police Department as a patrolman and desk lieutenant, retiring in 1978. He was a leader in the campaign to establish the village police union, the Kenmore Club Police Benevolent Association, and played a prominent role on the contract negotiations committee.

He and his wife owned and operated Mike’s Submarine Shop on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore from 1965 to 1980. He served for several years as president of the Kenmore Merchants Association.

After he retired, he and his wife lived in Boca Raton, Fla., and since the early 1990s, in Ocala, where they were successful as real estate agents.

He enjoyed golf, swimming, dancing, jazz, playing cards and traveling across the U.S. in a camper trailer.

In addition to his wife, who served as a Village of Kenmore trustee, survivors include a son, John Jr.; six daughters, Dale, Leslie, Patricia, Jonna, Claudia and Holly; 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held July 2 in Niawanda Pavilion, 310 Niagara St., City of Tonawanda.

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