Aug. 26, 1933 — Aug. 28, 2019
Last year, William L. Kindel shared some news: After more than 50 years of involvement in Amherst politics, including five four-year terms on the Town Board, he was leaving to start "a new adventure" in Israel.
Mr. Kindel and his wife, Maureen, sold the Arlington Road home they had shared for 52 years and planned to join their adult daughter, Yehudis Schamroth, and her family in Israel.
"It's like jumping off a diving board," Mr. Kindel told The Buffalo News. "But you don't get many chances at diving in."
Soon after sharing the news, Mr. Kindel began to suffer health setbacks and the move was postponed repeatedly.
Mr. Kindel, of Williamsville, died Aug. 28, 2019, in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, two days after his 86th birthday.
He was born in the East Lovejoy neighborhood of Buffalo, the second-youngest of seven children of Franz and Margaret Bernath Kindel. He was 3 years old when his mother died.
“We never wanted for food, but beyond that, we didn’t have a lot,” Mr. Kindel recalled in 2016. He told The News that he followed his father's advice: "He taught me that you put in more than you take out."
A 1948 graduate of East High School, Mr. Kindel earned a football scholarship to the University of Buffalo, where he graduated in 1956 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. The same year, he married the former Maureen Ann Malone in St. Mary's Church in Lancaster.
He worked in sales, for Honeywell, the National Cash Register Co., National Time Sharing and Data Services Inc. and as manager of the sales department for Tri-Electronics Corp. He retired from Wehle Electric around 2000.
Mr. Kindel became a Republican committeeman in 1966 and was chairman of the Amherst Republican Party from 1970 to 1975.
Named to the Town Planning Board in 1978, he was a member in 1981 when a large diesel engine repair business was proposed for fields on Wehrle Drive not far from his home, the current site of Ingram Micro.
He organized the Williamsville Southeast Homeowners Association to successfully fight the project. Kindel then ran on the GOP ticket for a Town Board seat and won.
He was elected to two terms after that and in 1990 was appointed town clerk, losing the 1991 general election to Susan Grelick, who went on to become Amherst town supervisor.
Mr. Kindel ran again in 1996 for Town Board, winning re-election every four years until 2007.
During his time on the board, during which Amherst saw a building boom, Mr. Kindel supported many development projects. In 1998, he voted for 78% of the rezoning applications that came before the Town Board, the highest percentage on the board. Yet he also belonged to the Sierra Club, sided with concerned homeowner groups and focused on preserving more than 3,000 acres of green space.
That included the 585-acre Great Baehre Swamp Wildlife Management Area off Hopkins Road north of Klein Road, which Mr. Kindel first sought in 1985.
"The whole Town Board was against the project,” Mr. Kindel said. "Everybody was against me."
A referendum to permit the town to borrow $1 million for the project passed by just 651 votes, Mr. Kindel called the victory "flat out the most rewarding" moment of his political life.
In recognition of Mr. Kindel's role in acquiring and developing an abandoned municipal dump off Hopkins Road in the late 1980s, the Town Board voted to name the site "Margaret Louise Park" after his mother and grandmother. In 2013, the Town Board changed its name to Billy Wilson Park to honor a local Army staff sergeant who was killed in Afghanistan.
Mr. Kindel was proud of his role in preserving the LeClair Kindel Wildlife Sanctuary off Main Street near the entrance to the Youngmann, Nature View Park, Veterans Park, Paradise Park and College Park.
In the early 1990s, Mr. Kindel was one of the founders of Citizens Against Rapid Transit Extension, which opposed plans to extend the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s light rapid rail system into Amherst and the Town of Tonawanda.
In 1993, after failing to get the Republican endorsement in a run for Amherst town supervisor, Mr. Kindel ran unsuccessfully on the Conservative ticket.
In 2007, he lost a five-way race for three open seats on the Town Board. He then left the Republican Party and in 2008 was elected chairman of the Amherst Conservative Party, a post he held until 2018.
In 2017, he said he might run again for Town Board. "It’s going to be a long shot," he said. "I don’t have any illusions or delusions about that whatsoever." In the end, he did not run.
Besides Maureen Kindel, his wife of 63 years, Mr. Kindel is survived by two sons, Franz W. and George M. Kindel; a daughter, Yehudis (Kristen) Schamroth, and five grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in SS. Peter and Paul Church, 5480 Main St., Williamsville.