May 30, 1930 — April 17, 2019
At the funeral of Aloysius A. Skierczynski, a retired police officer and devout Catholic, the Rev. Czeslaw Krysa of the Church of St. Casimir spoke about the man who had become his friend.
"The priest said that as a Marine in Korea and as a police officer, my dad sometimes saw the worst in people, but he was able to keep his faith and his family," said Mr. Skierczynski's son, Paul Skierczynski. "He loved helping others and he was wise. There was a lot of deepness there."
Mr. Skierczynski, known as "Uncle Al" to many, died April 17, 2019, in Mercy Hospital of Buffalo after a long illness. He was 88.
He was born in Buffalo, the seventh of nine children of John and Francis (Gliwa) Skierczynski and brother of Bernice, Jane, John, Frank, Walter, Henry, Bernard and Thaddeus. His parents were immigrants from Poland who passed down their culture and language to their children. Years later, their son Aloysius would lead the rosary in Polish every Friday at his lifelong church.
Mr. Skierczynski attended St. Casimir's School and in 1949, was a member of the first graduating class of Bishop Ryan High School on Clinton Street. At a 2000 reunion of the high school, which closed in 1971, Mr. Skierczynski recalled his happy school days. "We're glad for this reunion," he said. "We were the pioneers."
In August 1951, Mr. Skierczynski enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. He served with the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion of the 1st Marine Division and participated in landing at and fighting around Inchon, South Korea. He was honorably discharged in July 1953 with the rank of sergeant.
In 2000, Mr. Skierczynski received a Korean War Service Medal from South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.
In May 1955, Mr. Skierczynski was hired by the Buffalo Police Department, where he spent the rest of his career. While working full-time as a police officer, he attended Buffalo State College, earning a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice in 1977 and a master's degree in Student Personnel Administration in 1980. His son said Mr. Skierczynski did some substitute teaching in the Buffalo public schools through the years.
Marcia Staniszewski was nearly the girl next door, living "across the street and a few doors down," from Mr. Skierczynski's family home, their son said. On Aug. 18, 1956, they married in the Church of St. Casimir. With the help of his wife's father, Mr. Skierczynski built a house on the same street, and they raised their son there.
On Aug. 7, 1960, Mr. Skierczynski was off-duty and attending the St. Casimir lawn fete with his family when he intervened to break up a fight. He was struck in the face with a beer bottle and suffered a severe cut to his lip and chin.
On Nov. 27, 1960, he received an award from then-Mayor Frank Sedita at the annual ball and awards ceremony of the Buffalo Police Mutual Aid and Benefit Association for saving the life of an injured man.
In 1980, Mr. Skierczynski received the award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement from the Pulaski Police Association.
In 1985, he was promoted to lieutenant by the Buffalo Police Department. He retired in May 1992.
He was a life member of the Leonard Post 6251 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cheektowaga, the Amvets Post 72 in Buffalo and the Adam Plewacki American Legion Post in Buffalo, where he served as vice commander and sergeant at arms and was a member of the Degree Team.
Mr. Skierczynski became an active member of the Kaisertown Coalition when it was founded in 1999. He was honored by the group in 2006 with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also a volunteer at and member of the Autumnwood and Schiller Park senior centers.
He was a lifelong parishioner of the Church of St. Casimir in Kaisertown, where he served as an usher, acolyte and Eucharistic minister. In 1987, the church's Holy Name Society named him Father of the Year.
He and his wife enjoyed traveling. While his son was in medical school in Poland, Mr. Skierczynski visited him there, and on a later visit to Poland with his wife, they visited some relatives. They also traveled to Hawaii.
Mr. Skierczynski enjoyed gardening and caring for his pet cats.
Besides his son, he is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marcia E. Skierczynski, and many nieces and nephews. A funeral, with full military honors, was held Tuesday in the Church of St. Casimir.