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Donald A. Joseph, 96, elementary school principal in the City of Tonawanda

May 23, 1922 – Sept. 15, 2018

Donald Alfred Joseph, a retired elementary school principal in the City of Tonawanda, died Sept. 15 in Albuquerque, N.M., where he had been a resident for the past year. He was 96.

Born in Buffalo, he attended School 56 and was a 1939 graduate of Lafayette High School, where he was an Honor Roll student for four years. He studied at Buffalo State Teachers College until he enlisted in the Army in 1943. An infantryman in World War II, he was a communications specialist and took part in the Battle of the Bulge.

Returning from service, he began his career as a junior high school social studies teacher in the City of Tonawanda schools in 1947.

Mr. Joseph served for 29 years as a principal, overseeing the Niagara, Delaware, Highland and Millstream elementary schools in Tonawanda. He was popular with teachers and students, many of whom remained in touch with him in the years after his retirement in 1986.

Active in Temple Beth El, he was chairman of the School Committee and served two terms as president.

A member of the Boy Scout Troop at Temple Beth El, he became an Eagle Scout and later served as scoutmaster.

He was a founder of the Netmen’s Bowling League, was a member for 43 years and served as president and treasurer.

He also was an avid birder, a devoted Buffalo Bills fan and enjoyed swing bands, classical music and show tunes, frequently attending summer concerts at Tanglewood. His family noted that he possessed a unique sense of humor and maintained a broad circle of friends.

A Kenmore resident for 15 years, he moved to Amherst in 1967 and went to New Mexico last year to be close to family.

He was married in 1946 to Dvorah Sperling, a social worker with Planned Parenthood and Housing Opportunities Made Equal. She died in 2014.

Survivors include a son, David A.; two daughters, Judy Ramsey and Ruth Maayan; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 20, in Temple Beth Tzedek, 621 Getzville Road, Amherst.

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