Nov. 8, 1946 – July 7, 2018
After Ronald Rydzynski passed the test to become a police officer, he looked for a job close to home. It didn’t take long to get one.
“The chief drove into our driveway and blew the horn,” his wife, Lucy, said. “He said, ‘Get yourself a white shirt. You’re starting tomorrow.’ ”
Officer Rydzynski served on the Village of Sloan’s five-man force until 1978, when the department was merged with the Cheektowaga Town Police.
Cheektowaga made him the William Street district coordinator on the second platoon, overseeing his former beat in Sloan.
He concluded his 30-year career in law enforcement as bailiff for the Cheektowaga Town Court, processing and transporting defendants to and from the courtroom. He also was community police officer for the Cheektowaga Drug Court.
He died Saturday, July 7, in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga. He was 71.
Ronald P. Rydzynski was born in Buffalo and grew up in Sloan. He attended St. Andrew’s School and was a 1964 graduate of Bishop Ryan High School. As a teen, he was a drummer for the Ted Cole Trio and the Minutemen, playing polka and rock music for weddings and in clubs.
He was in high school when he met Lucille Eckert. They both waited at the same bus stop.
“He was taking the bus to Bishop Ryan and I was taking the bus to Bishop Colton,” she said. “We lived a block away from each other. He lived in front of St. Andrew’s Church and I lived behind the church.”
They were married in St. Andrew’s Church on July 22, 1967.
At that time, Mr. Rydzynski was making engines as a production worker at the Westinghouse plant, where his father worked.
He joined the Sloan Police Department in 1970.
With the Cheektowaga Police until 2000, he earned several commendations for his work, including two distinguished conduct awards.
In 1995, he rescued a man who was threatening to jump off a railroad bridge into heavy traffic on Union Road. The following year, he apprehended three burglars in a house on Shanley Street and recovered numerous weapons.
He was named in special unit citations for apprehending motorcycle gang members suspected in a homicide at Lancaster Speedway in 1994 and for the arrest of two armed men who robbed a convenience store on Kensington Avenue in 1996.
He also received four letters of commendation, notably for his investigation into fake $20 bills passed at businesses, which began with the arrest of two Rochester-area men who had 433 bogus bills. It led to the breakup of a counterfeiting operation in Canada.
Officer Rydzynski was given a fitness award in 1999 for meeting departmental standards for his age category and was noted for the high quality of his incident reports.
He served in the Army Reserve from 1966 to 1974, and was a former member of the board of directors at Buddy Knaus Post 14, AMVETS.
A resident of South Cheektowaga for nearly 50 years, he camped in the summer in a travel trailer at the Sherkston beaches and Pleasant Beach in Ontario and traveled extensively in retirement.
In addition to his wife, who was an executive secretary at Sierra Research for 20 years, survivors include two sons, Kenneth and Kevin; a brother, Anthony Jr.; two granddaughters; four step-grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 12, in St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, 950 Losson Road, Cheektowaga.