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Joe Gerace

Genesee Cancer Assistance to hold Annual Spaghetti Dinner April 19 in memory of Joe Gerace at Ascension Parish

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Genesee Cancer Assistance will hold its Annual Spaghetti Dinner on Thursday, April 19, in memory of Joe Gerace, an incredible, dedicated volunteer to the organization for more than 22 years.

This year's event will be held in Batavia from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Ascension Parish Hall on 17 Sumner St.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children and are available at the door or pre-sale from any board member. Takeouts available.

You can also call or stop by the GCA Office to purchase tickets, now located at UMMC hospital, 127 North St, Batavia.

Again this year, there will be raffles on site throughout the night including baskets of wine and chocolate along with a “Money Tree” valued at $100.

Genesee Cancer Assistance Inc. was founded in 1995 and is a community-based, nonprofit organization committed to providing financial assistance and free services to cancer patients in Genesee County.  In its 23 years of continuous service to our community, GCA has given over a half million dollars to more than 200 patients.

GCA depends on successful fundraisers. All money raised stays in Genesee County. Genesee Cancer Assistance reaches out to the community for help through local support, monetary donations, memorials, and volunteers.

This year each cancer patient receives $600 of financial assistance to help lessen the burden that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

For more information about this event, future events, and our organization, please visit us online at

Sponsored Post: Register today for the annual Golf Against Cancer Golf & Bocce Tournament

By Lisa Ace

Golf Against Cancer Golf & Bocce Tournament will be held at the Batavia Country Club on Friday August 18th, 2017. An 18-hole course has a links type flavor to it with it's wide fairways and large, undulating greens.

The watered fairways provide an even test of golf for all levels of skill. You'll love the scenic panoramic views you will be afforded during your round, especially on the back nine where you can enjoy a breathtaking vista of the entire course.

For the golf tournament: this is a 4-person scramble tournament. Hole-in-One prizes on all par 3 holes. Putting contest. Mulligans (can be used anywhere EXCEPT Par 3 holes) and Skins available for purchase at event.

While foursome registrations are encouraged, individual registrations are permitted. Entry fees ($95/Golfer) includes: Greens fees, cart, lunch, dinner, prizes, and loads of fun!

For the bocce tournament: Entry fees ($50/player) includes: bocce, lunch, dinner, prizes and a ton of fun!

Sponsorship Opportunities: If you, or your business would be interested in sponsoring this event, please contact the GCA office at (585) 345-0417. For more information, visit our site

Volunteers serve up nearly 900 spaghetti dinners to benefit Genesee Cancer Assistance

By Howard B. Owens


Karen Rolland, Joe Gerace's daughter, and Dave Chase serve up a plate of spaghetti on Thursday evening during the annual Joe Gerace Spaghetti Dinner, held at the Ascension Parish Hall in Batavia.

This was the first dinner, which is a fundraiser for Genesee Cancer Assistance, held since Gerace passed in November at age 80.

More than 40 volunteers helped make the dinner possible this year and nearly 900 dinners were served.

Lois Gerace said the effort was awesome and that her late husband would be impressed.

"I think he would be overwhelmed by the beautiful job they've done," she said. "They've really pulled together. It's a great crowd. It's great to be able to carry on something that he started that meant so much to him."





Next weekend's 'Strike Out' bowling tournament for Crossroads House is dedicated to the late Joe Gerace

By Billie Owens

The 21st annual bowling tournament known as the Betty Ellison Memorial "Strike Out" for Crossroads House will take place next weekend -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday Feb. 17-19 -- at Mancuso Bowling Center, located at 214 Main St. in the City of Batavia.

This year it is dedicated in memory of Joe Gerace, longtime Crossroads House supporter and champion in community service and volunteerism.

Each five-person team fee is a total of $100 ($20 per person).

Lane times are: Friday at 6 p.m.; Saturday at 3 and 6 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Secure registration and payment can be made at the Crossroads House website: (choose the Events tab).

Registration forms are also available at MBC or at Crossroads House, 11 Liberty St., Batavia.

For additional information, call Cindy at 993-0584 or Tara at 409-0136.

Community champion Joe Gerace passes away at 80

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia -- Joseph Richard Gerace, 80, proprietor of Gerace's Hair Care Center and along with his wife owned the former Bob Harris Realty Company, died on Thursday (Nov. 17, 2016) at the New York State Veterans Home in Batavia.

Mr. Gerace was born March 15, 1936 in Batavia, a son of the late Joseph A. and Sarah (Gazzetta) Gerace.

A 1955 graduate of Batavia High School, he served with the Army from 1957 to 1959. Prior to the hair care center he operated the Trailways Diner.

The lifelong Batavian was a member of many organizations, including: the Batavia Rotary Club, where he amassed 33 years of perfect attendance, served on the Board and also was the Sergeant at Arms; Knights of Columbus Fr. Vincent Capadanno Assembly 0755; Msgr. Kirby Council #325; City of Batavia Republican Committee, which he chaired for many years; Batavia Muckdogs Board of Directors and was on the team's Wall of Fame; Genesee Cancer Assistance program, where he served on the Board since its inception and founded the Simply Beautiful Hair Service; Resurrection Parish; former St. Nick’s Social Club; Batavia Youth Bureau; and a past president and co-chair of the Festival of Hope; Genesee Cancer Assistance golf tournament committee; and was on the city of Batavia zoning board for 12 years.

He was an avid New York Yankees and Buffalo Bills fan. He proudly attended each Super Bowl the Bills appeared in and was on the Founders Wall at the New Era Stadium tunnel entrance, recognizing season ticket holders since the beginning of the Buffalo Bills in 1960.  A favorite activity of his was the large selection of Christmas lights he displayed each year at his home.

Among the recognition and awards he received over the years included the two-time recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award, which is Rotary’s Club highest award, 2008 Humanitarian Award presented by the United Memorial Medical Center Foundation and the Jerome Foundation, 2006 Volunteer of the Year Award for the city of Batavia, Italian-American of the year awarded by the Batavia Downs and a similar award from the Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation, 1993 Geneseean of the Year and the Batavia Lions Club Italian American Award.

Surviving are his wife, Lois (Wagner) Gerace, of Batavia, whom  he married July 16, 1960; two sons, Robert J. Gerace  and  John P. (Rhonda Saulsbury) Gerace, both of Batavia; one daughter, Karen A. (Scott) Rowland, of Perry; one brother, Alfred J. (Patricia) Gerace of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and one sister, Theresa (late Joseph) Irrera, of Batavia. He is the grandfather of Ashley Gerace, Chelsea (Josh) Smith, Justin Gerace and Kirsten Rowland, Lindsey Rowland and David Rowland. Several nieces, nephews and cousins also survive. 

He is a brother of the late Louis Gerace and Sarah Bateman.

Family and friends may call on Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Bohm-Calarco-Smith Funeral Home, 308 E. Main St., Batavia. The Knights of Columbus #325 will hold a prayer service on Sunday at 5 p.m. His Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. on Monday at Resurrection Parish -- St. Joseph’s Church, 303 E. Main St., Batavia. Burial with full military honors will be at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Batavia.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Crossroads House, P.O. Box 403, Batavia, NY 14021 or online at, or to Genesee Cancer Assistance Inc., c/o United Memorial Medical Center, 127 North St., Batavia, NY 14020 or online at to the New York State Veterans Home, Attention: Activities Fund, 220 Richmond Ave., Batavia, NY 14020.

Please leave a condolence, share a story or light a candle at

'I'm not the only guy who has cancer,' says Joe Gerace as he plans to attend his annual dinner to support others

By Howard B. Owens

Throughout his life, Joe Gerace has helped so many people in our community, and now it's our turn to help him, but he doesn't look at it that way.

"I'm a little humble," Gerace said. "I'm humble because I'm not looking for somebody to pay me back. I've done everything from my heart, and, yeah, now it is payback time, but I'm not looking for it that way. I'm not that way."

Gerace was diagnosed earlier this month with lung cancer and bone cancer, at the same time, he also suffered a broken femur. He's currently staying at the State Veterans Home but plans on attending his annual spaghetti dinner Thursday in Stafford, which is a fundraiser for Genesee Cancer Assistance, a local organization he's worked tirelessly for since 1995.

"I'm looking forward to going to my spaghetti dinner Thursday," Gerace said. "I'm not going to get to put my hands in the sauce. I'd like to, but they all know what to do. I gave them all instructions."

He thinks just being there is important, not for him, but for others who need the support.

"I did it for 20 years and I want to be there to root other people on," said Gerace, who is 80. "I'm not the only guy who has cancer. There's a lot of people out there. I don't want no one to feel sorry for me because I'm going to fight this. I'm going to fight it."

Gerace has been deeply involved in our community for decades. He was the first person selected for the Italian-American of the Year Award at Batavia Downs in 2008. That year he was also Humanitarian of the Year for United Memorial Medical Center and the Jerome Foundation. In 2006, he was named City of Batavia Volunteer of the Year and Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Genessean of the Year in 1993 and was honored for his community service by the Paolo Busti Foundation Scholarship Committee.

He has long been active in Rotary and Knights of Columbus. He's a former president of the Batavia Youth Bureau, co-chair of the Genesee County Cancer Society's Festival of Hope and a director of the Genesee County Baseball Club (co-owners of the Batavia Muckdogs).

"I've got the urge to help," said Gerace, who served in the Army from 1957-59. "I call myself a public servant for Christ. I'm not a very religious guy, but I believe in God."

For two decades he's devoted a lot of time and effort helping people afflicted with cancer, but he never had it himself until now.

"It's so easy to tell somebody, you're going to be OK," Gerace said. "Well, you know, you experience it and then you'll know what they're going through. It's not only the cancer. It's the treatments. It knocks the heck out of you. It makes you tired. I want to go faster, but they slow me down, my wife slows me down all the time."

Gerace has received hundreds of get-well cards and countless bouquets of flowers over the past couple of weeks. He knows hundreds of people are praying for him and he says his own prayer every time he goes into treatment. 

"I say, 'dear God, those people prayed for me. Please answer their prayers.' "

He vows to beat cancer.

He said the other day he was doing a little religious reading and came across the story of a woman who got cancer and asked, "why me?"

She told people, "I have the Big C."

"Another gentleman wrote a letter," Gerace said, "and wrote her back and said, 'It's OK to have the Big C. The Big C is Christ and Christ is bigger than cancer.'

"That's what keeps me going," Gerace added. "I'm going to have a fight and I'm going to win. I will win. I've got a lot of spirit."

The dinner Thursday is from 4 to 7 p.m. Gerace vows he'll be there for at least some of the time. It's at the Stafford Fire Hall. Adults $10 (includes a 50/50 raffle ticket), children $5. Takeouts available.

Joe Gerace steps down as head of city GOP

By Howard B. Owens

An era ends for the City of Batavia GOP as longtime chairman Joe Gerace resigns from the leadership position.

Gerace has led local Republicans for 15 years.

Gerace tells WBTA:

I have tried to the best of my ability to pull our party together and get our candidates elected, and truthfully, it has been stressful.

I believe I must think of my own health and my commitment to my supportive family.

The 76-year-old community activist has been honored as Italian of the Year by Batavia Downs (the first such award), been named Geneseean of the Year by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and has been a driving force behind Genesee Cancer Assistance since its inception.

Gerace submitted his letter of resignation last night, but plans to remain active in both the city and county GOP committees.

Councilman Jim Russell will serve as acting chairman until the party elects a new leader.

Photo: Joe and Lois serving spaghetti

By Howard B. Owens

Joe and Lois Gerace were in the Stafford Fire Hall this evening serving up heaping helpings of Joe's famous spaghetti. The dinner was a benefit for Genesee Cancer Assistance.

I'm proud to say that in the Chinese auction, Billie and I won a painting by John Hodgins and a Batavia Muckdogs sign with a mounted baseball bat.

Gerace: Local Republicans not involved in release of Christian e-mail

By Howard B. Owens

Local Republicans want nothing to do with Tim Paine's release of a Rose Mary Christian e-mail in which Christian tells fellow council members about her termination from Wal-Mart 20 months ago.

Joe Gerace, chairman of the City Republicans, called this morning and was adamant that The Batavian publish a statement from him saying that neither City nor County Republicans had anything to do with Paine's decision to release the e-mail.

"It's personal," Gerace said. "This is between Rose Mary and Tim Paine and we have nothing to do with it."

"I don't like her philosophy, but Rose Mary and I are good friends," Gerace said. "Why would I get involved in a thing like this?"

Gerace said he doesn't like mudslinging and doesn't like to see local Republicans involved with such tactics.

"I don't condone dirty politics, dirty tricks," Gerace said.

When contacted this morning, Christian's Republican opponent Bob Radley was unaware yet of the issue. He said he had heard rumors, but it really wasn't something he was interested in pursuing.

"I'm not into talking about people's personal lives," Radley said. "That's not the way I want win an election. I want to win an election on the issues, not based on what my opponent has done."

Batavia Downs

By Steve Ognibene


It was an honor and privilage to watch Joe Gerace at Batavia Downs Gaming this past Saturday night. 

Joe spoke after the 7th race and being awarded for the "2008 Italian-American of the Year".  Many Batavia residents, friends and family members gathered in celebration of Joe receiving his award.  Joe thanked the love of his family, god and everyone who knew and supported him. 

Here is a picture of Joe and his wife Lois just before entering the Batavia Downs.  For more pictures of Joe receiving the award:  Pick up your own copy of the Daily News at local newsstands. Or, better yet, subscribe at


Batavia Downs to honor Joe Gerace as Italian-American of the year

By Howard B. Owens

HarnessLink reports that local barber Joe Gerace will be honored August 23 at Batavia Downs as "Italian-American of the Year."

This is the first such award given by Batavia Downs, and HarnessLink says the gaming facility and race track is planning other ethic awards this year.

The life-long Batavia native is the 2008 Humanitarian of the Year for United Memorial Medical Center and the Jerome Foundation, 2006 City of Batavia Volunteer of the Year, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Genesian of the Year in 1993 and was honored for his community service by the Paolo Busti Foundation Scholarship Committee.

The active 72-year-old grandfather of six is the former president of the Batavia Youth Bureau, co-chair of the Genesee County Cancer Society's Festival of Hope, a director of the Batavia Muckdogs (where he is also on the team's Wall of Fame), member of the Batavia Rotary Club and St Nick's Social Club and sat on the City of Batavia zoning board of appeals for 12 years.

Also a licensed realtor and military veteran, Gerace and his wife, Lois, have been married 48 years and are the parents of three grown children.

That's an impressive resume.

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