June 3, 1944 – Nov. 24, 2012
Carl P. Kowalkowski, who for years was a mainstay in Buffalo’s theater and comedy scene, died Saturday in Buffalo General Medical Center. He was 68.
Mr. Kowalkowski was born in Black Rock, graduated from Canisius High School and earned an English degree from St. Bonaventure University. He taught English in Napoleon, Ohio, for several years before returning to Buffalo in the early 1970s to help an ailing parent.
Mr. Kowalkowski became involved with the Buffalo Comedy Workshop at the original Tralfamodore Cafe and would become a familiar presence on stage for many years with Studio Arena Theatre, Irish Classical Theatre and Kavinoky Theatre. He was a member of Actors Equity.
News theater critic Terry Doran in 1989 called Mr. Kowalkowski “one of Buffalo’s masters of comedy acting” in a review of “You Can’t Take It With You” at Studio Arena.
In 1998, Doran said his one-man performance in “The Christian Brothers” at Irish Classical was “the performance you’ve been waiting for ... Where it really gets to you is how Kowalkowski locates the pathos of this teacher. This is on the other side of funny, but it is brilliant.”
His last role was in Torn Space Theatre’s “Endgame” in 2007. Mr. Kowalkowski’s voice was also heard on commercials.
In addition to acting, Mr. Kowalkowski was the manager at Positively Main Street, an Elmwood Avenue boutique, for close to 30 years.
“Carl was one of the wonderful characters along Elmwood Avenue. It seems like everyone – from the theater, the schools he attended, the church he went to and along Elmwood – knew him, and he obviously will be missed by lots of people,” said Linda Matt, Positively Main Street’s owner.
Mr. Kowalkowski was active with St. John’s-Grace Episcopal Church, serving on the vestry.
He enjoyed theater, opera and summer food festivals, especially the Erie County Fair and Canal Fest.
Survivors include a sister, Gerry.
A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. Sunday in St. John’s- Grace Episcopal Church, 51 Colonial Circle.