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Death notices and obituaries from The Sun week of Jan. 29
By:Submitted to The Sun
Date: 2015-01-28
Ralph Anderson
Ralph Anderson, 88, died January 21. Ralph served during World War II in the United States Army in Europe. He was honorably discharged on Nov. 4, 1946 and worked for Western Electric until retiring. He is predeceased by his wife Margaret (nee Phillips) Anderson. He is survived by six children; Laurie (Bill) Barrett, of Ellicottville; William Curtis Anderson, of Texas; Deborah Spackmann, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Keith Anderson, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla; Dennis (Laurie) Anderson of Ravena, N.Y. and Karen Anderson of Margate, Fla; also survived by 20 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.

Ralph was an avid hunter, fisherman and competitive pistol shooter. His pastimes included square dancing, snowmobiling, camping, gardening and spending time with his family.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Jan. 31, from 2-4 p.m. at the Laing Funeral Home Inc. in Eden.

Online condolences may be made at


Edward Celani

Edward J. Celani, of Hamburg and Spring Hill, Fla., died January 24. Edward was the husband of Marjorie (nee Boedo); father of James (Marianne) Celani, Thomas (Kathy) Celani and Susan (Ronald) Vernon; grandfather of Gary and Michael Celani, Jennifer and Sarah Vernon; brother of Elenor (late Michael) Sendor and the late Rose (Edward) Krause; also survived by nieces and nephews.

Edward served in World War II in the 457th bomb group for the Eight Army Air Corps.

A wake will be held at Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home Inc. in Hamburg on Wednesday, Jan. 28 from 4 -8 p.m., where funeral services will be held Thursday, Jan. 29 at 10 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice Buffalo. Online condolences and donations may be made at


Diana Houseknecht

Diana M. (nee Krieger)Houseknecht, of Hamburg, died January 19.Diana was the wife of Kenneth Houseknecht; mother of Julia (Lou Scarpello), Alaina (Shaun) Garvey and Caleb Houseknecht; friend to Taffy; daughter of Robert and Carol Krieger; sister of Michelle (Tim) Weber, Karen (Rudy) Kristich, Ken (Jen) Krieger, Lisa (Azedine) Ider and the late Sheryl Ivancic and Robert Krieger; also survived by nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on Jan. 24 at Saint Bernadette Church 5930 in Orchard Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Diana’s memory to Hospice Buffalo, 225 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga, N.Y. 14227.


John Kaczor

John J. Kaczor, of Hamburg, 82, died January 23. John was a funeral director of 60 years and lifelong Southtowns resident. He was born in Lackawanna to Matthew Kaczor, also a licensed funeral director and former Lackawanna police commissioner, and Sophie Majcherek. His maternal grandfather, Andrew Majcherek, was the first of four generations in the now 103-year-old family funeral business. With war bond savings, John Kaczor and his wife Josephine built their first funeral home in Blasdell in 1966. His son John S. Kaczor carries on the family tradition in Lackawanna and Hamburg.

He graduated from Saint Barbara’s grammar school. He then boarded at Saint Francis High School in Athol Springs and graduated in 1951. A three-star athlete, gaining All Catholic honors in football and basketball, he was inducted into the Very Rev. Rufinus Niedzwiecki St. Francis High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985. He received his bachelors of science from Canisius College in 1955 and served in the United States Navy. Upon his honorable discharge, he attended and graduated from the Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science in 1960.

In June of 1960, he married Josephine Tomasik, also of Lackawanna, and their love affair endured through her passing in 2010. In addition to his son John, he is survived by two daughters, Karen and Kathleen; five grandchildren, Kelsey, Christopher, John II, Matthew II and Faith and great-granddaughter Johanna.

John was a member of the national, New York state, and Erie-Niagara funeral directors associations, and he retained his funeral director’s license until his death. He was also a member of the Knights of Saint John Commandery 391, the Southtowns Rotary Club, the Lions Club, the Loyal Order of the Moose, various veterans associations, the Cook Owls and the Wacky Wednesday social club.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Blasdell.


Allan Launder

Allan M. Launder, of Lake View, died January 24.Allan was the husband of the late Marion (nee Harris); partner of the late Eileen LaPointe; father of Allan (Brenda), Cheryl Kuebler and the late William (Joyce) Launder; grandfather of Donald, Scott and Tammy Launder, Kenneth, James and Debra Kuebler; brother-in-law of Alice Marsh; also survived by nine great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He was past fire chief of Lake View Fire Company and a member of the Erie County Softball Hall of Fame.

A funeral was held on Jan. 26 at the Lakeside memorial Funeral Home in Hamburg. Online condolences may be made at

Jean Thiel

Jean M. Thiel, 73, of Langford, died January 22. Jean was the sister of Louise Thiel and the late Allen Thiel; daughter of the late Gerald and Evelyn (nee Gier) Thiel; companion of Smokey.

A Mass of Christian burial was held on Jan. 17 from Epiphany of Our Lord Church in Langford. If desired, donations may be made to Hospice Buffalo.

Edward Shields

Edward M. Shields, 59, of Angola, died January 25. Edward was the husband of Deborah Shields; father of Edward (Jennifer) Shields and Eric Shields; grandfather of Haley and Amber; son of Dorothy Katalinas; brother of Deborah (Earl) Swift and John Katalinas; brother-in-law of Karen (William) Martek, Robert (Karen) Flatley and James (Peggy) Flatley; also survived by many nieces and nephews. A wake will be held Thursday, Jan. 29 from 3-7 p.m., where funeral services will follow at 7, at the Addison Funeral Home Inc. Online condolences may be made at

Michael Militello

Michael Militello, 68, of Angola, died January 19. Michael was the partner of Rose (nee Snyder) Smakowski; father of Lynn (Todd) Kruszka and Stephen Militello; stepfather of Joseph, Thomas and Carl Snyder; grandfather of Brianna, Austin, Caleb Militello and Thomas, Abagail and Jacob Snyder; brother of Anna (Angelo) LaRussa, Clara (Raymond) Nytz, Josephine (late John) North, Theresa (late Anthony) Quagliana, August (late Mary Jane) Militello, Lucille (Edward) Davis, Jennie (Phil) Hadsell, Pauline (late David) Schmauss, and the late Petrina (Alexander) Guiliana, Marie Militello, Angelo (Grace), Joseph (Rose) Militello, Samuel(Eleanor) Militello, James (Patricia) Militello and Anthony J. Sr. (Late Maryann) Militello.

A Mass of Christian burial was held on Jan. 24 at Most Precious Blood Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.Online condolences may be made at

Connie Lee Daugherty

Connie Lee Daugherty, 77, died on January 18. Connie was born in Altoona, Pa. on May 7, 1937. She was a “hands on” travel agent, visiting over 80 countries, often with her family. She also volunteered at Contact Altoona and several other charitable organizations. She went to high school in Altoona and later attended Penn State University.

She was the only child of Boyd Gessey and Violet Hamilton Geesey and had step-siblings, Ken Gessey and Donna Gessey. She married the late Charles Mitchell and they had five children together: Dennis, Michael (Gina), Tim, Brian (Kim) and the late Andrea. Connie later married the late Wayne Daugherty and had three stepdaughters: the late Kay Daugherty, Bobby Jo Daugherty (Michael Shaffener) and Kate Formichella (Michael). She is survived by her grandchildren Charles Mitchell, Andrea Mitchell, Jennifer Mitchell (Kaitlyn), Melissa Mitchell, Drew Mitchell, Brooke Mitchell, Jackson Mitchell, Rebecca Formichella, Chris Formichella, Mick Formichella, Michele Formichella, Marisha Collins (Jamal), Joshua Youngblood and Anthony Youngblood. Great-grandchildren include Hannah Mitchell, Shamar Collins, Shayla Youngblood, Haven Youngblood, Riecen Youngblood and her fiancé John Burkett.

A celebration of her life was held Jan. 24 at the Fields of Harvest Fellowship Church in Altoona. Donations may be made in her name to Contact Altoona or Fields of Harvest Fellowship Church.

Wilbur Fladd

Wilbur “Artie” Fladd, 63, of McKean, Pa., died of cancer at home on December 25.Wilbur was born in Lackawanna to the late Wilbur and Betty Jean (nee Chapman) Fladd. Surviving Wilbur are his wife of 27 years, Michelle Beganics Fladd; a daughter, Luray Fladd and fiance Jude, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; a son, Adam Fladd, of McKean; a sister, Vera Hustead of Ripley, N.Y.; brothers, Michael Fladd (Debbie), of Cranesville, Pa.; David Fladd (Karen) of Blasdell; brother-in-law Brian Beganics (Trina); sisters-in-law, Debbie Morton and Darlene Beganics of Erie, Pa. and Dedrienne Adams of Mobile, Ala. He is also survived by his mother-in-law Lois Bartos, of Erie, Pa. and several nieces and nephews.

Artie was a 1969 graduate of Hamburg High School, where he served as a class officer. He was an assembler at General Electric for 22 years. He followed the Buffalo Bills, and always made sure his family put the Bills flag on the porch on game day. He also showed his1959 Austin Healey and then his 1935 baby blue Dodge truck at car shows, talking to people about how he built them.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Regional Cancer Center, 2500 West 12th St., Erie, PA, 16505; or Regional Home Health and Hospice, 2564 Village Common Drive, Erie, PA, 16506. Online condolences may be made at


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