April 18, 1930 – Feb. 10, 2018
Nick DeLuca and his wife, Loretta, collaborated for 35 years to make the Cavalier Motel on Niagara Falls Boulevard a success.
She greeted customers at the front desk and answered phones. He also worked the desk and served as general contractor for the motel’s expansion. When they added a restaurant and banquet facility, she was the hostess and he was cook, bartender and dishwasher.
“He did everything,” his daughter, Roxanne Zimmerman, said. “She worked alongside him, but he was the driving force.”
Mr. DeLuca died Feb. 10 in Elderwood Health Care at Amherst. He was 87.
Born in North Tonawanda, Nicholas DeLuca was the youngest of five children. While he was attending North Tonawanda High School, he worked as a pinsetter in a bowling alley and met Loretta Devlin, a student at rival Tonawanda High School, at a dance in 1947. They were married in 1949.
His brothers and uncles operated gas stations and he followed them into the business in 1950, opening a Mobil station at North Ogden and East Lovejoy streets on Buffalo’s East Side. At first, he rode to work each day from North Tonawanda on his bicycle.
He went on to own service stations at Sheridan Drive and Millersport Highway in Amherst and at Wehrle Drive and Union Road in Cheektowaga.
Then, in 1955, he and his wife purchased the Cavalier Motel on the Tonawanda side of Niagara Falls Boulevard.
“It was an opportunity that turned up,” his daughter said. “It was a small place and it was what he could afford.”
Seven years later, they bought the Webster Motel Court, another motel across the street, and expanded it to a 102-room facility on both sides of the boulevard. The Cavalier Restaurant, which they built in 1966, was noted for its fish fry and hosted bridal showers and wedding receptions.
Mr. DeLuca also had an interest in other businesses. In 1959, he and his brother-in-law, Bill Devlin, opened Bill & Nick’s Nite Cap on Niagara Street in the City of Tonawanda. He opened Niagara Falls Sightseeing Tours at Bailey Avenue and Eggert Road in Amherst in the late 1960s and drove a limousine for tourists and motel guests.
He and his wife sold the motel and retired to The Villages, Fla., in 1990. They returned in 2011 due to declining health and to be near their family.
A lifelong bowling enthusiast, he sponsored dozens of teams and leagues and became a part owner of Mil-Sher Lanes. He bowled his first 703 set in 1972 in Sheridan Lanes after playing 18 holes of golf. He was inducted into the Tonawandas Bowling Hall of Fame in 1984.
While living on East Robinson Road in North Tonawanda, he served on the committee that established Deerwood Golf Course and was instrumental in the design of the clubhouse restaurant. He was a member of the Niagara Falls Country Club, Tan Tara Golf Club and the Jacaranda Golf Course in Venice, Fla.
He also was a member of the Grove Street Christian Church in the City of Tonawanda and the Renaissance Club in Buffalo. He was a life member of the Live Hose Fire Company No. 4 in North Tonawanda.
His wife died on Dec. 1.
Survivors include two other daughters, Deborah Priano and Norma Politowski; two sons, William and Nicholas II; 14 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26 in Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive at Hopkins Road, Amherst.