on February 11, 2014 - 5:14 PM
Sept. 22, 1928 – Feb. 10, 2014
Alvin Popiel, of Grand Island, a reporter for The Buffalo Evening News for 30 years, died Monday in ElderWood at Grand Island after a short illness. He was 85.
Mr. Popiel joined The News in 1952 after earning his master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism. After 15 years as a police reporter, he covered Cheektowaga and the Tona- wandas before he was assigned to cover Buffalo City Hall in 1969.
He became Erie County Hall reporter in 1974 and left in 1982 to take a position as executive assistant to County Executive Ed Rutkowski. He later served as marketing director for the Grand Island Economic Development Corp. and Amherst office manager for Professional Résumé and Writing Service Inc.
Born in the Bronx, Mr. Popiel graduated from high school in Reading, Pa., and joined the Army in 1946. Assigned to the First Calvary Division in Tokyo, he later become a reporter for the Army newspaper the Pacific Stars & Stripes, attaining the rank of corporal.
After the service, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University and was a summer reporter with the Reading Eagle.
For many years, Mr. Popiel worked with Literacy Volunteers in downtown Buffalo, teaching adults to read. After completing a tax preparation course, for many years he gave free tax help at the Grand Island Senior Center.
He was active in the Columbia Journalism School Alumni Association and enjoyed playing tennis, playing the violin, gardening, bicycling and swimming.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, the former Faye E. Bailey, and three daughters, Debbie Stack, Becky and Judy Siehnel; and five grandchildren.
A memorial service will be arranged.