June 6, 1925 – Feb. 18, 2018
Few people work for one company as long as Norbert A. Ratajczyk. His career with locally owned Chudy Paper Co. spanned 65 years.
“I more or less became a member of the family,” he told a trade journal, Sanitary Maintenance, in 2006.
Stepping down after 45 years as purchasing agent, Mr. Ratajczyk stayed on as a salesman. Working just three days a week, he was Chudy’s sales leader two years in a row, prompting his recognition in the trade magazine.
He died Sunday in Lancaster Commons, Lancaster, after a period of declining health. He was 92.
Born in Cheektowaga, he attended St. John Gualbert School in Cheektowaga and graduated from Buffalo Technical High School.
As a boy, he shined shoes and cleaned hats near the former Genesee Theatre on Buffalo’s East Side. In high school, he worked at the Chudy retail store on Lombard Street across from the Broadway Market.
He enlisted in the Coast Guard on his 18th birthday and served aboard the USS Sheilak, which was attacked by Japanese kamikaze as it supported the invasion of Okinawa.
Mr. Ratajczyk returned to drive trucks for Chudy. Seven years later, he was promoted to purchasing agent. He also served as chief executive officer of Rochester Paper Co., which Chudy acquired in 1990.
After he retired in 2007, he assisted his grandson, Jeremy, as a salesman in his businesses, Alden Automotive and Alden Lawn and Garden.
A former Orchard Park resident, he was a member of Orchard Park Post 567, American Legion; Post 6247, Veterans of Foreign Wars; the Professional and Businessmen’s Association and the board of directors of the Polish Union of America.
Known to friends as Norby, he enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing poker.
Survivors include his wife of 68 years, the former Dorothy Musial; a daughter, Camille Holynski; a son, Michael; a sister, Virginia Maciejewski; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 2950 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park.