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May 24, 2022 - 6:00pm

Batavia PD places flags at graves of former officers recognizing service and sacrifice

posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia PD, batavia, news.

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Police officers unselfishly protect the community, Batavia Det. Matthew J. Wojtaszczyk said Monday at St. Joseph's Cemetery during a ceremony to honor those who worked the streets of the city and were eventually laid to rest.

"I want to sincerely thank everyone who had a hand in this process of locating and honoring former members of the city of Batavia Police Department," said Wojtaszczyk, who is president of the Batavia Police Benevolent Association. "They dedicated their lives to a career of service for our community. From the inception of our police department in 1915 to today, the world of policing has certainly changed. But a constant throughout time has been the continued sacrifice of our men and women in blue. The officers we honor today face the daily risks of being police officers. They knew that when they put on their uniform, they would selflessly protect our community and our citizens, and that often meant placing themselves in dangerous situations."

The ceremony's purpose, said Chief Shawn Heubusch, was to honor those who gave a good portion of their lives to protect Batavia's people and property.

"Members we're recognizing today spent a significant amount of time as members of the department," Heubusch said. "Generally, they all retired from the department with at least 20 years of service to our community, many in excess of that. There are approximately 50 deceased officers buried in four cemeteries across Genesee County, including 34 here at St. Joe's and in Elmwood Cemetery."

Flag holders and Batavia PD flags, donated by H.E. Turner Funeral Home, were placed at the gravesite of each of these officers.

"It took an extraordinary effort and commitment to research the names of our deceased brethren in their final resting places," Heubusch said. "I want to recognize the two individuals who rightly deserve our gratitude and thanks. That's Rich Schauf and Steve Robinson."

Steve Johnson, of H.E. Turner, said the funeral home stepped in to assist with the donation because of the company's history, going back to 1910, of supporting local law enforcement. 

"We're honored to be here to be a part of today's event, and are committed to ensuring that no Batavia police officer's final resting place goes without recognition," Johnson said. "To that end, I'd also like to announce that we have extended this offer to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and both the Le Roy and Corfu police departments, to provide resources and funding for similar memorials at their officers' graves." 

At the gravesite of Anthony Horsch, Batavia's first chief of police, his great-great-grandson David Pixley noted that seeing the gravesite flags was meaningful to his family because so many of its members, in various parts of the nation, have or do serve in law enforcement. 

Wojtaszczyk said local officers were grateful for the recognition because they give up a lot to serve their community.

"There are many things a police officer knows when they sign up for this career,"  Wojtaszczyk said. "Police officers know they will work difficult hours. Police officers know they will miss birthday parties, family events and holidays. Police Officers know that at a moment's notice they will run toward danger without hesitation. Police officers know that we'll see people who are at their worst and perhaps lowest points. And finally, police officers know that we'll be expected to make split-second decisions that will be scrutinized and critiqued afterward. In spite of this, they all choose a life of service and sacrifice."

Table: Former Batavia PD officers whose gravesites are located locally.  Heubusch invited family members of former police officers were weren't included this year to contact the department to correct the unintentional oversight.

Name

Date of Birth

Date of Death

Years of Service

James J. Aquino

1920

2003

1950 – 1974

Gasper S. Baudanza

1906

1983

1931 – 1969

Robert G. Casper Sr.

1929

2008

1957-1977

Robert L. DeFreze

1927

2010

1959-1980

Albert G. DelBridge

1897

1960

1915-1952

Larry J. Falkowski

1921

2009

1942-1975

John J. Gravante

1934

2021

1959-1979

Anthony J. Horcsh

1854

1919

1890-1916

William C. Krantz

1901

1971

1933-1946

Frank A. Lachnicht

1937

2008

1966-1996

Andrew J. McCulley

1854

1931

1886-1931

Anthony J. Monteleone

1927

1984

1956-1977

Peter N. Nichols

1929

1980

1952-1978

Richard F. Pastecki

1928

1994

1957-1979

Frank S. Rodon

1911

1993

1936-1966

Bernard J. Ronan

1933

2015

1963-1985

Frank J. Rugala

1924

1990

1952-1974

Edward J. Santora

N/A

2007

1948-1969

Milford J. Smith

1904

1961

1923-1961

Grandview Cemetery:

Robert R. Currier

1930

2012

1964-1984

Earl F. Davis

1923

2001

1947-1981

Robert S. Dombrowski

1939

2016

1962-1993

Matty W. Hamera

1927

2002

1957-1976

Arthur J. Luplow

1881

1962

1915-1941

George K. McCurdy

1907

1977

1936-1971

Salvatore I. Sanfratello

1915

2001

1950-1972

Lloyd “Bud” G. Silvernail

1959

2013

1987-1993

Herbert Snyder

1887

1966

1915-1944

Richard F. Vanderwalker

1931

1996

1962-1987

Elmwood Cemetery:

William J. Lewis

1944

2019

1966-1987

Carl Salway

1890

1945

1921-1944

Charles Lewis Snell

1907

1979

1942-1971

Top photo: At the gravesite of Anthony Horsch, the first police chief of Batavia PD, he is saluted by his great-great-grandson David Pixley

Photos by Howard Owens

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Chief Shawn Heubusch

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Steve Robinson

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Steve Johnson

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Eugene Jankowski

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Matthew J. Wojtaszczyk 

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Chuck Barnard
Chuck Barnard's picture
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Last seen: 2 weeks 5 days ago
Joined: Feb 25 2009 - 9:35pm

Jim Johnson was a City of Batavia Police Officer during the 1960s he's buried at Grandview Cemetery, he's not on this list.

Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm

Chuck, be sure to call Batavia PD and let them know.

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