Oct. 9, 1927 — Aug. 14, 2019
Richard M. Moleski was the longest-serving Cheektowaga Town Clerk in history, holding the office from 1976 to 2003.
"He has an open-door policy and the patience of a saint," the town's second deputy town clerk, Vickie Dankowski, told The Buffalo News in 2002. "He is always able to satisfy a customer. They always leave feeling he will help them."
He also spearheaded an effort to organize, manage and preserve town records, a five-year effort that by 1995 had been granted some $168,402 from the state Archives and Records Administration. That year, a state grant of $24,668 from the state's Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund covered the cost of microfilming court and payroll records.
Also a longtime active member and past president of of Doyle Volunteer Hose Company No. 2, he died Aug. 14 in the Juniper Communities, East Amherst. He was 91.
Born in Buffalo, one of four sons and a daughter of Stanley and Frances Chmielewski, he graduated from Sloan High School and was a World War II veteran of the Army Air Corps, where he worked in administration of personnel before being honorably discharged.
In 1948, Mr. Moleski earned an associate's degree in business administration and accounting with honors from Bryant & Stratton Business Institute, then attended Fredonia State Teachers College. He also took Cornell University's home study courses in economics for business and labor and personnel management.
He worked at Loblaws for three years as an office manager, then was a supervisor there for 20 years.
In 1966, Mr. Moleski was elected a Democratic committeeman in District 57, a position he held for 26 years. He was a member of the school board in Cheektowaga-Sloan Union Free School District between 1970 and 1975, serving as president and vice president. From 1972 to 1975, he was also a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals in Cheektowaga.
In November 1975, he was elected town clerk in Cheektowaga, a post he held from Jan. 1, 1976, until he stepped down on Jan. 1, 2003, with one year left in his final term. He ran unsuccessfully for town supervisor in 1993, losing to Dennis H. Gabryszak.
In 1981, he and Town Highway Superintendent Alfred F. Wnek made a two-week tour of Poland, taking food items to their relatives and meeting briefly with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.
He was an active member of Doyle Volunteer Hose Company No. 2 for more than 70 years, serving as president, vice president, treasurer, recording secretary, sergeant at arms and as a member of the board of directors. He was a member and delegate to many county and state fire association meetings, and was past secretary of the Cheektowaga Central Council of Volunteer Firemen.
Mr. Moleski served as president of the Erie County Town Clerks Association and belonged to the Polish National Alliance, the Polish Union of America, the William Street Taxpayers Association, the Kolbe Assembly, Father Justin Council 5670, Knights of Columbus; the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie 2692; and Knaus Post 14, Amvets.
He was a longtime active parishioner of Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Church and its Holy Name Society, which named him its Man of the Year in 1971 and again in 1982. He was named a Citizen of the Year by the AmPol Eagle in 1983.
He was predeceased by his wife, the former Dorothy Gerlach, and a son, Ronald J,, who died in 2005.
Survivors include a daughter, Kathy M. Koscielniak; a son, Thomas R.; six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19, in Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, 2518 Clinton St., Cheektowaga.