Oct. 28, 1919 – Jan. 29, 2013
Edward J. Pawenski of North Tonawanda, a founder and longtime chairman of the board of trustees at Niagara County Community College in Sanborn, retired banking executive and former funeral director, died Tuesday in ElderWood Health Care at Crestwood in Wheatfield after a short illness. He was 93.
A native of Troy, Mr. Pawenski graduated from Renouard’s School of Embalming in New York City before serving in the U.S. Navy as a chief pharmacist mate aboard LST 393 in the Atlantic during World War II. After the war, he attended Buffalo State College and the University of Buffalo.
He and his late wife, Frances Pietak Pawenski, owned and operated Pawenski Funeral Home, now Colucci Funeral Home, on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda for 28 years.
Mr. Pawenski then went into banking and served in various capacities at Manufacturers & Traders Trust Co. until he retired in 1986 as an executive vice president.
As a member of the Niagara County Board of Supervisors from 1958 to 1960, Mr. Pawenski sponsored a resolution to establish the community college.
He served on the NCCC board from 1960 to 2012, making him the longest-serving trustee in New York State at 52½ years. He served as chairman of the board for 19 years.
Mr. Pawenski received a special achievement award in 1987 from the Association of Community College Trustees, the highest award a trustee can receive in the State University system. He also was one of only two recipients of the association’s Founders Award for those who were responsible for founding community colleges in the state.
He was the first lay lector and Eucharistic minister at Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Church in North Tonawanda, chairman of the bingo committee and an inductee into the church’s Hall of Honor as past president of its Holy Name Society. He also was a member of Stephen Sikora Post 1322, American Legion; North Tonawanda Post 26, AMVETS; Madonna Council 2535, Knights of Columbus; American Institute of Banking; North Tonawanda Volunteer Firemen’s Benevolent Association; Oliver Street Businessmen’s Association; and many other civic organizations.
Survivors include four daughters, Dale Ann Harvey, Edda Slowinski, Faith Andres and Georgette Schultz.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, 57 Center St., North Tonawanda.