June 28, 1934 – Jan. 6, 2018
James J. Lombardi, who had three long and simultaneous careers as a local elected official, a teacher and the operator of a dairy, died Saturday in Mount St. Mary's Hospital, Lewiston, after a long illness. He was 83.
Mr. Lombardi served 20 years in town office: eight years as a Lewiston councilman followed by 12 years as supervisor.
He also had a 35-year career as a Niagara Falls public school teacher. And, for more than three decades, Lombardi's Dairy on Ridge Road was a popular stop for milk, ice cream and food for area residents.
"Dad was a doer," Lombardi's daughter, Janis, said. "It was never for his personal gain. It was to make Lewiston a better place."
Mr. Lombardi was born in Lewiston and attended the old Red Brick School before graduating from the former Bishop Duffy High School in Niagara Falls. He earned a teaching certification from Niagara University and a master's degree from Canisius College.
He taught science and mathematics in the Niagara Falls schools from 1957 to 1992.
But his father had a dairy farm on Ridge Road, and in 1963, Mr. Lombardi and his brother, Sebastian M., known as "Buster," decided to install equipment to pasteurize and homogenize milk for retail sale. Within a few years, they also were making ice cream — 27 flavors — and selling food in a business that continued into the late 1990s.
In 1967, Mr. Lombardi, who had been serving on the local draft board, was elected to the Town Board. A Republican, Mr. Lombardi served two four-year terms and then was elected supervisor in 1975. He served six two-year terms in that post until he lost in the 1987 election.
His primary accomplishments in office were the construction of Lewiston's townwide sewer system and the beginning of significant residential growth in the town. He also sought assistance from the New York Power Authority for town government and worked on park development.
Janis Lombardi said her father always tried to make sure the growth occurred in a thoughtful manner, and it wasn't unusual to find constituents stopping by the dairy to talk politics.
Mr. Lombardi made two attempts at returning to public office, but he lost a primary race for town justice in 1991 and a councilman election in 1995.
His brother, Sebastian, who served 33 years as town justice, died in 1989.
Mr. Lombardi was an usher at St. Peter's Catholic Church, a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Coumbus, a past president of the Lewiston-Queenston Rotary Club and a member of the Niagara Frontier Country Club.
Survivors include four daughters, Janis, Jayne Sortore, Joyce Trietley and Jerri Presutti; a son, Jason; two sisters, Mildred Terrameo and Mary Hibbard; and 10 grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Peter's Catholic Church, 600 Center St., Lewiston.