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Leonard S. Sikora, 90, principal at Bennett and Seneca Vocational High Schools

Jan. 6, 1928 – June 10, 2018

Leonard S. Sikora, former principal of Bennett and Seneca Vocational High Schools in Buffalo, died Sunday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a lengthy illness. He was 90.

Born in Buffalo, he was a 1946 graduate of Seneca Vocational High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1950 from Buffalo State Teachers College and his master’s degree in education from the University of Buffalo in 1957.

Mr. Sikora began his 40-year career in the Buffalo schools as an industrial arts teacher at Kensington High School, School 53 and School 84 before becoming assistant principal at Bennett High School in 1964.

He was named principal at Bennett in 1969 and was appointed principal of his alma mater, Seneca Vocational, in 1975. He retired in 1990.

He was a former vice president of the Buffalo Retired Teachers Association and a vice president for membership of the New York State Retired Teachers' Association. He also was a former president of the state organization’s Western Zone and chairman of its Founders Fund.

Active in issues affecting seniors and retirees for many years, he was regional advocacy coordinator for the AARP, a member of the advisory committee for Erie County Senior Services and a member of the board of directors of the Network in Aging. In the 1980s, he was active in Gov. Mario Cuomo’s Skilled Workers Emeritus Program.

He also was chairman of the Polish Arts Scholarship Foundation and established a scholarship fund in his name with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

He was given the Ampol Eagle Citizen of the Year Award in Education in 1975 and received the Buffalo State College Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008. He was presented with the Buffalo State Foundation Chairman’s Recognition Award in 2005.

AARP recognized him with its Andrus Award for communication and health issues advocacy. The Network in Aging presented the Jerry Flaschner Humanitarian Award to him in 2006 for local, state and national contributions to the field of aging.

While on a summer job as a clothing salesman in college, he met his wife, the former Irene A. Grudzien, a bookkeeper, who was working in the budget office of a men’s clothing store.

Residents of Lancaster and Elma before they moved to Amherst about 10 years ago, they would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary later this month.

There are no other survivors.

A Memorial Mass of the Resurrection will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 30 in Holy Mother of the Rosary Cathedral, 6298 Broadway, Lancaster.

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