on May 30, 2014 - 9:09 PM
Feb. 2, 1929 – April 14, 2014
Edward W. Gawronski, of Lake Wales, Fla., and Darien Center, a retired state food inspector, died April 14 in Good Shepherd Hospice, Lakeland, Fla. He was 85.
Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Buffalo Technical High School and was a standout baseball player. An infielder, he was invited to spring training by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, but was drafted into the Army during the Korean War.
Turned down by the Dodgers, who said he was “too old” when he returned from service, he played second base and shortstop as the token white player in an all-black team based in Buffalo that toured Western New York and northern Pennsylvania. In an exhibition game in Offermann Stadium, he was called on to catch warm-up pitches from the legendary Satchel Paige.
Mr. Gawronski later joined the state Office of General Services as a commodities food inspector for Western New York schools and institutions.
He coached boys and girls in youth baseball and volunteered for the Crisis Hotline and the Radio Reading Service for the Blind.
He retired to Florida in 1994 and spent summers in Western New York.
Survivors include his wife of 32 years, the former Carol Eichler; a son, Larry; a daughter, Sheryl Stevens; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. July 5 in Our Lady of Good Counsel Cemetery, Darien Center.