on March 17, 2013 - 10:14 PM
, updated March 17, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Nov. 8, 1928 – March 14, 2013
Anthony T. Rozek Sr. of Buffalo, a Korean War veteran and pioneer in local girls ice hockey, died Thursday in Elderwood Health Care at Linwood after a brief illness. He was 84.
Born in Buffalo, Mr. Rozek, who was known as “Tony,” grew up in Buffalo’s historic Polonia District and attended St. Stanislaus School. He went on to work as a machinist for Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna.
Mr. Rozek remained an active member of the “St. Stan’s” Parish his whole life. After serving there as an altar boy, he went on to serve on the Parish Council and then its Usher and Holy Name Society. He was a lector and also assisted the Legion of Mary, Catholic Charities, the Catholic Youth Organization and other clubs in the Buffalo area.
Mr. Rozek’s dedication and service to the church earned him the St. Joseph the Worker award in 2011.
He married the former Jane G. Blaszak at St. Stanislaus Church on Oct. 10, 1953, the place where, 50 years later, the couple renewed their wedding vows and then celebrated in the nearby Monsignor Adamski Social Center.
A veteran of the Korean War, Mr. Rozek was also involved with the Catholic War Veterans, Knights of Columbus: Father Justin Council and was the commander of Adam Plewacki Post 799.
Known as one of the pioneers of girls ice hockey in Western New York, Mr. Rozek in the early 1970s started serving as an ambassador for the game, traveling throughout the United States and Canada as he attempted to build the girls’ programs and encourage them to play. He served in various capacities locally, including in Clarence, Amherst, Buffalo, Depew and Cheektowaga.
Mr. Rozek was most notably the manager of the Clarence Fighting Saints, the Buffalo Hornets, the Depew Saints and the Cheektowaga girls hockey teams, where he was part of numerous state and national championship teams.
He was known in girls hockey circles as the “Candy Man” and “always made everyone feel special – old and young – with bags of candy, popcorn, peanuts or little trinkets,” family members said.
Mr. Rozek also is credited with continuing the Niagara District Girls’ Hockey League into the 1990s.
He was an avid sports fan and enjoyed hockey, baseball, basketball, card playing and billiards. He was on a state champion basketball team in 1949 and also won trophies in billiards, cards and baseball, family members said.
Besides his wife of 59 years, Mr. Rozek is survived by three daughters, Diane Jarmusz, Katherine Ignasiak and Janice Cavaretta; and a son, Anthony T. III.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday from St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church, 123 Townsend St. Prayers will precede the Mass at 9:15 a.m. from the Kazmierczak Funeral Home, 3640 Clinton St., West Seneca.