June 9, 1912 – Jan. 25, 2013
Beatrice D. Pacanowski, a lifelong piano teacher and player, died Jan. 25 in her West Seneca home. She was 100.
Born Beatrice Christensen in Kankakee, Ill., she moved to this area as a child and was a graduate of South Park High School.
She had been playing the piano since she was 8 years old and teaching since she was 18. She played pipe organ at Cazenovia Park Baptist Church, where she also served as choir director for many years.
In the 1930s, Mrs. Pacanowski played piano on WBEN Radio and for Denton, Cottier & Daniels, a local piano and organ dealer.
Following the drowning of her first husband, David R. Doig, in 1949, she worked for a few years as a clerk-typist at Bethlehem Steel’s administration building in Lackawanna, where she met and subsequently married her supervisor, Stanley Pacanowski. He died in 1960.
At age 50, Mrs. Pacanowski began studying practical nursing and earned her license in 1963. She worked several years as a private nurse.
Also in 1963, she traveled extensively in the Middle East and Europe, visiting the Holy Land and Egypt; the capital cities of Rome, Paris and London; and Switzerland.
Mrs. Pacanowski gave piano lessons to hundreds of children through the years – maintaining a roster of up to 25 students a week, according to her daughter Beatrice “Bonnie” Doig. She also gave organ lessons.
For roughly the past decade, she performed weekly at Seneca Manor Nursing Home, where she played hundreds of songs from memory. In 2009, she was named Volunteer of the Year at the facility.
Mrs. Pacanowski also performed for the Winchester Community Church Senior Group for 23 years, testing those attending the monthly luncheon to “Name That Tune” from a repertoire of 25 songs.
She continued giving lessons and performing up until last December.
Her other interests included crocheting. While in her 70s, she won a prizes at the Erie County Fair for her crocheted afghans.
Survivors include another daughter, Judith Wright; a stepdaughter, Barbara Moore; and a stepson, Paul Thomas.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Winchester Community Church, 909 Harlem Road, West Seneca.