LEICESTER – To many people in Leicester, Stanley Lubanski was not just a neighbor but also a friend.
“He was well loved and well respected,” said Mayor Barry Briffa.
On Sept. 7, village officials along with more than 50 local residents came together to dedicate the veterans memorial park to him. It was a park that Briffa said Lubanski created and helped to maintain.
“He took care of all of the village flags. He always put them up and took them down every year,” said Briffa.
Along with the Town of Leicester the village created a sign to honor Lubanski, who many said was a familiar face around town.
“He got along with everyone and, of course, he was a member of the Leicester Fire Department for 50 years, too. He would also come to all of the village board meeting and sit there and smile,” said Briffa.
In addition to attending board meetings, Briffa said Lubanski would also stop by the local offices to satisfy his sweet tooth.
“The funny thing is he always said he would come by the office for a kiss. We had the little chocolate candy Kisses in the dish and that is what he always came for,” said Briffa.
Lubanski was born in Cuylerville and attended York Central School.
He was a member National Guard from 1954‐to 1956.
In 1957, he enlisted in the United States Army as a field artillery specialist. After basic training and attending truck maintenance school he was stationed in Germany. In 1959, he completed his military service and was awarded a good conduct medal and an honorable discharge.
“He was in the United States Army for a few years. If you ever needed him for anything he was always there. All you had to do is call him and he would help out,” said Briffa.
He was a member of both Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 634 in York and the Geneseo VFW Post 5005 and American Legion Post 271. He was well known for selling poppies to benefit disabled veterans.
In 2002, Lubanski was instrumental in creating the Veteran’s Monument in the Leicester Village Park and worked hard to maintain it. After creating the Veteran’s Monument, Lubanski started placing the American flags throughout the Village of Leicester and continued to place flags along the village streets and on veteran grave sites in the cemetery every year.
On July 18, Lubanski passed away from colon cancer.
“We had only known for three weeks that he had colon cancer, so it was very fast. The last two months have been a whirlwind for us,” said daughter Lisa Semmel.
Semmel and her family thought the dedication was going to be a small, private gathering. She said they were amazed at the turnout.
“We had initially invited my dad’s two brothers, his sister and just our immediate family. We were not expecting community members. We thought that it was just going to be a small and private get together. I guess word of mouth got out and there had to be over 50 people there,” Semmel said.
The family also said they were delighted by the sign that was created. Prior to the dedication they did not see it. For them it was welcome surprise, filled with emotion.
“No one actually saw the sign until it was put up. It was a big surprise for the family. The family was just flabbergasted when they saw everything. It was a special occasion and a great turnout,” said Briffa.
For many the park will now become a place to not only remember veterans but to reflect on the life of Stanley Lubanski and the people he helped in Leicester.
“My dad was very much a veteran’s man and to see the outpouring from the community and how many people appreciated my dad as much as we did was just phenomenal,” Semmel said. “People really did appreciate him and all that he did for the community.”