Weekly Feature

2016-06-15 / Obituaries

Robert P. Barczak, fomer Sweet Home athletic director

Barczak Barczak Robert P. Barczak, a former athletic director at Sweet Home High School, died Monday, June 6, 2016. He was 81.

Mr. Barczak graduated from Kenmore High School, which is now Kenmore West High School. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1952, serving during the Korean War. He was stationed at Greenville Air Force Base in Mississippi and remained in the service until May 1956.

After serving in the military, Mr. Barczak attended the University of Buffalo and received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and then a master’s degree in educational administration.

Mr. Barczak was the athletic director at Sweet Home High School, where he also coached football and wrestling and received numerous awards and honors for his career in physical education.

He is a member of the Western New York Athletic Hall of Fame and the University of Buffalo Athletic Hall of Fame.

John Faller, who joined the Sweet Home faculty in 1974, said Mr. Barczak made the school the envy of all other Western New York districts.

“I co-taught with him in his first two morning classes,” Faller said. “He gave me the opportunity to coach football and lacrosse. He was a real go-getter who didn’t hesitate to tackle new problems.”

When work needed to get done and time was of the essence, coaches counted on him.

“I can still see him running backhoe himself to make field improvements,” Faller said.

Players had a difficult decision to make one year when the Panthers baseball team was headed out of town for the state championships. Some chose to leave their dates at home in order to make the game while others stayed behind for the prom. Mr. Barczak bused the team to the game — with their dates — and afterward threw a party for them so they could still have “a prom.”

“He did what was best for the school and best for the kids,” he said. “He never wanted to deprive a kid of the chance to play sports. He knew some kids were better at academics and others were better at sports. If athletics were a kid’s main strength, he’d give them money for new sneakers or something else they couldn’t afford.”

Faller added that Mr. Barczak demonstrated a strong commitment to all of his coaches and went to every game that he could.

“Even coaches who never knew him said they never heard a bad word about him.”

Mr. Barczak was an avid golfer and member of the Bartlett Country Club in Olean near his summer home. He would spend part of the winter in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

In addition to his wife of 59 years, Carolyn (nee Sue), survivors include three daughters, Michelle, Kristine Weller and Kelly Talbot; and three grandchildren.

A private funeral service will be held

Arrangements were made by D. Lawrence Ginnane Funeral Home.

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