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Nov. 17, 1933 – Oct. 14, 2013

Funeral director Joseph M. Litwin, a lifelong resident of Lackawanna, died Monday at Hospice Buffalo in Cheektowaga after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 79.

Born and raised on Electric Avenue in Lackawanna, Mr. Litwin graduated from Bishop Timon High School in 1951. After graduating from the Simmons School of Embalming & Mortuary Science, he opened a funeral home on Electric Avenue in 1954. The Joseph M. Litwin Funeral Homes remains open today.

Mr. Litwin served as a cook in the U.S. Army, and was stationed overseas in western France near LaRochelle, where he was joined by his wife, the former Alice M. Saladyga.

Mr. Litwin cared for his wife during the 15 years prior to her death in August 2007.

An avid golfer, he played “anywhere he could,” including South Africa, said his son, Gary.

Mr. Litwin’s main passion was his business, described by family members as a small “mom and pop” funeral home.

He was a longtime member of the Erie Niagara Funeral Directors Association and the Lackawanna Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Litwin was also active in the former St. Michael the Archangel Church Holy Name Society, where he planned many polka dances that attracted people by the busload.

After a fire in April 1968 destroyed St. Michael’s School and severely impaired use of the church, Mr. Litwin served firefighters food from tables he set up in the driveway of his funeral home, his family recalled.

In addition to his son, he is survived by a daughter, Marlene Rohal; another son, Joseph; two sisters, Joanne O’Donnell and Annette Youngs; and three brothers, Albert, Martin and Michael.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Queen of Angels Parish, 144 Warsaw Ave., Lackawanna.