on June 6, 2013 - 5:52 PM
, updated June 7, 2013 at 2:12 AM
Dec. 10, 1946 – June 4, 2013
Benjamin A. Wiech, an attorney regarded as a local expert on the Shroud of Turin, died Tuesday in his North Tonawanda home. He was 66.
Born in North Tonawanda, Mr. Wiech was a 1964 graduate of Bishop Gibbons High School and earned his law degree from the University at Buffalo Law School in 1973.
His legal career spanned more than three decades. He began as an associate with Schnell & Salmon; was a partner in Batt & Wiech; then had his own practice, dealing with wills and estates, for several years before retiring in 2012 because of illness.
His fascination with the Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth bearing an image that millions believe is Jesus of Nazareth, began in 1985.
In “Reflections On The Shroud,” one of many websites devoted to it, Mr. Wiech said he was an atheist when he read a book about the history of scientific testing of the shroud. “The science of the Shroud convinced me that Jesus rose from the dead,” he wrote.
Mr. Wiech read everything he could about the shroud, attended conferences on it and befriended researchers. In turn, he appeared before local media and church groups to share the information.
Unfortunately, he never was able to actually view the shroud, which is kept in Turin Cathedral in Italy and rarely displayed to the public.
“That was a big deal for him,” his wife, the former Janice Lempke, said of his study and belief in the shroud. “One of the things that was most important to Ben: He was a Christian, and he always said he was tight with the Lord.”
A talented photographer, Mr. Wiech was a member of the Tonawanda Camera Club and received several photography awards. He also was a golfer and woodworker.
Mr. Wiech was president of the Lions Club of North Tonawanda.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Judy Kowarko and Jennifer; and a sister, Valerie Cronin.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 875 Eggert Drive, North Tonawanda.