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Obituary Notice- James Arthur “Jim” Muck

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DUNKIRK:  James Arthur “Jim” Muck, 74, of Washington Avenue Dunkirk, formerly of Forestville, died peacefully in his Dunkirk home Saturday, January 12th, after waging a year-and-a-half battle against esophageal cancer.  He was born in Buffalo, on April 9, 1938, the son of the late Norman C. and Dorothy (Gassman) Muck.

Mr. Muck moved to Forestville as a young boy and spent much of his life there, graduating from Forestville Central School in 1955.  He survived polio as a child and was told he would never walk again.  But he defied the odds and fully recovered from the disease, earning 10 varsity letters by the time he graduated from high school.  Mr. Muck excelled in baseball, basketball, football and track & field and he kept his passion for sports alive as an adult through softball, bowling and the occasional game of golf.  He was a member of the Forestville & Jamestown Old Timers Baseball organizations and was elected to the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame in 1991, with a lifetime pitching record of 347 wins, including 13 no-hitters and 3 perfect games.

He played on several teams, including Aldrich Dairy, First Ward Falcons, Ralston Purina and Kosciuszko Club.  Mr. Muck also successfully coached the Forestville Twins Little League Team, which his sons Steve & “Chip” played, to 2 back to back championship seasons.  He was an encyclopedia of sports information and followed many teams throughout his life, with his all-time favorites; the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs.  As much as he enjoyed professional and college sports, and more recently, fantasy sports leagues, he loved most; his time on the pitching mound and could recount details of games played decades earlier right up until his death.

He worked as a Driver for Dunkirk Fredonia Meals on Wheels, Dunkirk, up until last fall, where he enjoyed the camaraderie of the staff and loved visiting his clients throughout Chautauqua County, whether at their homes or at the Forestville Fire Hall.  For many years, he and his trademark baseball cap, could be seen sitting in a certain corner of Tim Horton’s on Route 60 with his coffee club, a select group of retirees who solved the world’s problems and discussed sports every morning for many years.  Mr. Muck also worked as a vehicle operator for more than 20 years with ConRail and was a part-time driver for the former Tri County News, for nearly a decade.  He was an avid reader and expert extraordinaire at his daily crossword puzzle and Jumbo puzzle.  Mr. Muck was a loyal friend and a champion of the underdog, willing to give the shirt off his back or his last dollar to friends who’d fallen on hard times.  He’ll be remembered by his family and friends as a champion athlete with a big heart who kept a low profile and did not seek out attention.  Mr. Muck was a humble man with a love for animals and a generous nature, and he’ll be deeply missed.

Survivors include two daughters, Patti (Denny Angelle) Muck, of Richmond, TX, Traci Koch, of Dunkirk, two sons Steve (Sandy) Muck, of Forestville, Nelson “Chip” (Michelle) Muck, of Cedar Park, TX, a step daughter, Jennifer Salerno,

a step son, Eric Botticello, a brother, Al (Patty) Muck, of Silver Creek, a sister, Sue (Gerald) Olsen, of Forestville, a half brother, Vern West, of Rochester, the mother of his first 3 children Gerry Bartlett of Richmond, TX and 2nd wife Kathy Berek of Silver Creek.  Also surviving are 11 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and several nieces & nephews.  Besides his parents he was predeceased by his stepmother Agnes (Kingsley) Muck and by his wife Mary “Debbie” (Kondolf) Muck, who died in 2004.

Friends are welcome to call at the Riles & Woolley Funeral Home, 39 Main Street, Forestville on Tuesday from 2-4 & 7-9 pm, from where Funeral Services will be held Wednesday morning, at 11 o’clock, with Rev. James D. Hankey, pastor of Forestville United Methodist Church, officiating.  Interment will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Dunkirk.  The family suggests memorial donations may be made to the Dunkirk Fredonia Meals on Wheels, 200 Lake Shore Drive West, Dunkirk, NY 14048.  To post condolences go to


  • Linda Bradigan
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    My heartfelt sympathy to the family of Jim. I’ve known him since I was a teenager…he was such fun to be around. Loved his sense of humor in particular. It pains me to know that he had to suffer.

  • Linda Clark
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I only knew of Mr. Muck through his daughter, Patti. He must have been a wonderful man. His legacy is his children who are a joy to all who know them. Enjoy your wings Mr. Muck, you deserve them. Linda

  • Theresa Allen
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:25 am


    I am so sorry to hear about your father. He must have been an extra special man to have raised such a wonderful person as you Patti. Your father is in a place where there is no more suffering or sighing but peace everlasting. May his memory be eternal.

    Theresa Allen

  • Q. G. Best
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Played against Jim in Grape Belt baseball and then fastpitch softball. Great player and outstanding gentleman on and off the field.

  • Dianna McKune Stoker
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    My heartfelt condolences to the Muck family. My you find comfort within you family and reflect on the good memories of your father!
    Dianna McKune Stoker

  • Toni Castiglia
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Traci & children,
    I wish so much that I could be there in person for you all right now. I am there in spirit with much love to guide you through your loss. I know that his spirit is throwing fast balls right now and they are all strikes. He must have been an amazing man and I know I would have enjoyed conversations with him. Hold onto all the wonderful memories you share of him… that will be his legacy, living on through all of you.
    Love & prayers to you all now in this time of grief & loss.

  • Carl Presto
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    My condolences to the Muck family. I’ve known Jim & Al for years
    through sports, both as a foe and a team mate. Jim was a great guy and will be missed alot.

    Sorry I couldn’t be there, but I’m in Florida at this time, & just found out on the net.

  • Claire Vackar
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Dear Patti,

    Please accept my deepest condolences for the passing of your father. He is in a MUCH better place now and is not suffering. It sounds like he was a wonderful person and lived a full and happy life doing the things he loved best. I know he will be missed by many many friends and loved ones. You were a wonderful daughter to him and for that he was truly blessed. I am praying for comfort and peace for you and your family.



  • Vern West
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 8:40 am

    My condolences to the entire Jim Muck family. I have only known my half brother since November 11, 2001. He has shown me a person with a big heart and always treated me as a part of the family.

  • ted lutz
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    My sympathy goes out to the Muck family. I umpired baseball and fast-pitch softball in the Dunkirk area for more than a decade and remember several chats with Jim. He was a fine athlete and an even better person. Not many like him!
    Ted Lutz
    Kane, Pa.

  • Mel Bey
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Vern- sorry to hear of your loss. Glad that you were able to know him for the time that you did.

  • Glenn Fosdick
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    My heartfelt sympathy to the entire Muck family and to my friend Vern West. May God be with you during this time and always.

  • sam patton
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Although I did not know Jim personally, I had the pleasure of
    competing against him on the ballfield … he was good.
    My condolences,
    sam patton

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