This year the Valley Community Association will be honoring three very special people, who passed away this past year, who impacted the community, and were great supporters of the Valley at the 25th Annual “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade – BOB BOUQUARD, MIKE HARRINGTON, PAUL SIMONICK. The parade will be held on Saturday, March 17th, 2018.
Paul “Kielbas” Simonick, who was born in February 2nd, 1945, was a lifelong resident of the Old First Ward. Paul was one of six siblings born to the late Jacob and Mary. The Simonick Family, which included Paul’s siblings – Dorothy, Eugene, Robert, Joseph, and George – started out on Chicago Street before moving in the early 1950’s to 160 O’Connell Avenue where Paul lived for the rest of his life. The Simonick Family lived in the downstairs flat and his sister Dorothy and her family lived in the upstairs flat. Dorothy still resides there today.
Paul’s youngest brother – Robert, who is better known as Rip, is the long time, well known equipment manager for Buffalo’s professional hockey teams, working in the 1960’s with the AHL Bisons and with the NHL Buffalo Sabres since their inception in 1970.
Paul attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help grammar school in the 1950’s and then went to high school at Bishop Timon High School, graduating in 1962. Paul was an outstanding athlete in high school as he was nominated as an All-Catholic First Team in both hockey and baseball. Paul had the top batting average in the highly competitive Catholic School baseball league in 1962 and also played baseball in the top leagues in the City, starring in AAABA and MUNY leagues with the best players in WNY. In the fall and winter, Paul’s athletic prowess led him to become a star hockey player. He was the one of the first Americans to play Junior Hockey in Canada and continued to star in the Erie Metro Senior League, playing alongside his younger brother Rip.
In 1967 Paul was drafted into the US Military to serve our country during the height of the Vietnam War. He served for two years in the US Army.
Returning to the Old First Ward in 1969, Paul greeted both neighborhood folks and city hall dignitaries as the boss of Mary’s Restaurant on South Park Avenue. Paul had a gift for storytelling and always had a story to share. In addition to spending breakfast and lunch shifts at the restaurant, Paul worked evenings as a Mutual Teller at Buffalo Raceway. He also served as the Business Agent for both the Buffalo Raceway and the Ushers & Ticket Takers Union for over 30 years, retiring in 2010.
A lifelong lover of horse racing, Paul traveled across the country visiting many famous thoroughbred racetracks with his brother Rip and Rip’s wife Maize. Paul was proud that he become part owner of the First Ward Stables with his brother Rip.
Throughout the years Paul always supported the endeavors of the Valley Community Association and was an avid supporter of the Valley Golf Tournament chaired by his good friend Paul Hoffstetter. Paul loved to watch the “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade from his front porch at 160 O’Connell Avenue, waving to parade contingents, then meeting the crowd for a celebration afterwards.
Paul was proud of the people he knew especially his friends in the Valley and Old First Ward neighborhoods. Paul was known as the sports and history expert for almost 100 years of history of the “old neighborhoods”. He was known as the “Mentor” to the younger generation, as he loved to pass along stories of people, places, and history. As a friend, Paul was always there to offer advice and encouragement whether it be about golf, hockey, baseball or horse racing, or life in general.
Paul passed away on January 14th, 2017 and is survived by siblings Dorothy (late Frank) Cepuchowski, Eugene “Butch” (late Betsy) Simonick, and Robert “Rip” (late Mary Ann “Maize”) Simonick and many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and his four legged friends. He is pre-deceased by his parents as well as brothers Joseph (late Pauline) Simonick and late George (Mary Rita) Simonick.
2018 Grand Marshal
James “Jim” Sumbrum Sr. has been chosen as the Grand Marshal of the 25th edition of the “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade and will lead the procession through the historic streets of the Valley and Old First Ward neighborhoods on Saturday, March 17th, 2018.
The Parade Route
The 25th annual parade will kick off at 12 Noon from the Valley Community Center and will wind through the streets of the historic Buffalo River Community. Viewing of the parade is available along South Park Avenue (between Hamburg Street and Smith Street), Smith Street (between South Park Avenue and Elk Street), Elk Street (between Smith Street and South Park Avenue), Hamburg Street (between South Park Avenue and South Street), and South Street (between Hamburg Street and Louisiana Street).
Immediately following the parade will be the traditional grand Irish “Hooley” featuring live music by “Emerald Isle” as well as plenty of food and drink. The “Hooley” runs from 1pm-5pm at the Valley Community Center.
For More Information on the Valley’s St. Patrick’s Day Festivities
- Call Lori at – 716-823-4707 ext. 4
- “Like” the Valley Community Center on Facebook
- Follow the agency on Twitter @VCAssociation