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Ronald R. Dukarm, 71, expert on local railroad and industrial history

Ronald R. Dukarm, 71, expert on local railroad and industrial history

March 29, 1948 — June 30, 2019

Ronald R. Dukarm, a retired Internal Revenue Service manager who was a leading expert on local railroad and industrial history, died June 30 in his Orchard Park home after a period of declining health. He was 71.

Born in Buffalo, he attended St. Gerard’s Elementary School, was a 1966 graduate of Bishop Turner High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Canisius College. He served in the Army Reserve.

Mr. Dukarm worked for the Internal Revenue Service in Buffalo for 34 years as a revenue officer, chief of the facilities management branch and in various other management positions. He retired in 2004.

He developed a love of railroading when he was a boy and became one of the area’s foremost railroad historians.

“He was always fascinated by trains,” his stepson Benjamin Sivitilli said.

Active in the Western New York Railway Historical Society, Mr. Dukarm served as a board member and president and was editor of its newsletter for 13 years.

In 1984, he conceived and organized “Railroads on Parade,” in which all the railroads in Buffalo displayed equipment at the Bethlehem Steel plant, the first and only time the public was admitted freely to the plant.

He purchased and donated three historic railroad passenger cars, one being the last railway post office car built in 1910. He also worked for more than 25 years restoring the Orchard Park Railroad Depot.

He was author of two books and a dozen magazine articles on Buffalo area railroads, focusing on the Erie, Delaware Lackawanna & Western and Buffalo Creek railroads.

He was a volunteer with the Heritage Discovery Center from its start in 2009, coordinated other volunteers and oversaw day-to-day operations of the industrial museum. Last year he was appointed vice president.

In waterfront development, Mr. Dukarm worked with city development agencies and preservation groups on planning. Photographs from his extensive collection of early 20th century scenes helped save the original Commercial Slip.

He was a board member of the Lower Lakes Marine Historical Society, a technical adviser for the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society and was a member of numerous other historical organizations. He also was a member of Orchard Park Post 567, American Legion.

His first wife, the former Ann Marie Zemak, died in 1986. He was remarried to the former Maria E. Arauz 20 years ago.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two stepsons, Nestor Arauz and Benjamin Sivitilli; a sister, Karen Stumm; a brother, Anthony Marinaccio, a stepbrother, William Kranso; and five nieces.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 8, in Amigone Funeral Home, 6170 W. Quaker Road, Orchard Park.

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