Louis L. Sobczak, 82, of Niobe, N.Y., passed away unexpectedly Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 at UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa.
Lou was born June 9, 1930 in Dunkirk, N.Y., son of Aloysius (Allen) Sobczak and Johanna Sobczak (Korzenieski).He was preceded in death by his sister, Lucille Wishrowski, about 15 years ago.
In the late '40s and '50s he raced jalopies in the Penny Royale in Leon and at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk. He joined the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin. He later volunteered service in the U.S. Army and served as a paratrooper in Korea, receiving a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Through most of the '60s he owned and operated the Gulf station at the triangle in Lakewood/Vukote, driving his '63 Starfire with a young John Belushi stopping by in the summers for Dr. Pepper.
About 1970, Lou began his career as a Union Operating Engineer (Local 17) starting at Jamestown Macadam, and later with Dewitt Enterprises which later became Hanson.Lou was a life member and was just recognized for 40 years of membership.
A lifetime sportsman, he raised bird dogs and racing pigeons, and was a member of many clubs, including the Southern Tier Retriever, Jamestown Racing Pigeon, and Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. When he was younger he was an avid and successful skeet shooter, hunter, and fisherman, earning the nickname "Lucky Lou." He always had a soft spot for animals and in retirement it was not uncommon to see critters of every sort in his yard, including the occasional bird feeder toppling bear, and deer and turkey by the dozens.
Surviving are two daughters: Lynda Drew and Cindy Lawrey, both of California; three step-children: Shirley Jones (Swartz), Linda Swartz, also in California, and David Swartz of Ashville, N.Y.; many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
An informal memorial/time to remember Lou will be held at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. All friends and family are encouraged to attend. Please RSVP to his grandson, Mike Jackson so he can make proper food arrangements (716) 450-2130. Bring your pictures and stories.
Thanks for the memories Lou, and we'll miss ya buddy!