Melvin E. Wolfe

GOWANDA – Melvin E. Wolfe, age 77, of Armes Court, passed away Saturday, November 30, 2013 at the TLC Health Care Facility Lake Shore Campus.

Mel was born in Cattarugus on November 23, 1936, the son of Chauncy and Caroline (MacDonald) Wolfe. He graduated from Pine Valley Central, Class of ’55. An accomplished baseball player, Mel played in the minors and the majors for the Cleveland Indians. When asked, he would tell you his claim to fame was being offered a signing bonus with the Cleveland Indians higher than that of Mickey Mantel (the year was 1956).

Melvin was employed by New York State and he worked at the former Gowanda Psychiatric Center. He retired as a Recreational Therapist in 1991 after 36 years of state service.

On October 31, 1955, Mel married the former Patricia O’Shea. Pat died April 4, 2001.

Mel was involved with various organizations, including the Gowanda Moose Lodge #1382, an Auxillary member of the James Cruden VFW Post 5007 and the American Legion Post 409, along with the Jamestown Elks, to name a few. Mel was also a member of the Cypress Bay Golf Club.

Mel married the former Rita Varndell Steklasa on Sept 7, 2002. Rita survives.

Mel and Rita moved back to Gowanda to be close to family earlier this year. They lived in Little River, S.C., for several years.

Besides his wife Rita, Mel is survived by a daughter, Brenda Fay-Reis, of Danbury, Conn., and a son, Mark (Jackie) Wolfe, of Parsippany, N.J., along with 11 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Also surviving is a brother, Hazen (Dee), of Fla., and a sister, Alyce (Joseph) Galbato, of Ohio, stepchildren Stephen (Kim) Steklasa, of Silver Creek, and Charlayne (Joseph) Sutton, of Pa.

Besides his parents and his first wife, Mel was preceded in death by a son, Michael Wolfe, who passed away April 19, 2011, and a stepson, Kenneth Steklasa, who passed away July 8, 2012.

Friends may call at the SCHINDLER FUNERAL HOME, 44 Center St., Gowanda, N.Y., (716) 532-4200, from 3 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 at 11 a.m., where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the St. Joseph’s R.C. Church, 90 E. Main St., Gowanda (assemble at the church). Interment will be in the Pine Hill Cemetery in Gowanda. Fr. Daniel Walsh will be the Celebrant.

Memorials may be made to Roswell Park, P.O. Box 631, Buffalo, NY 14240.