James Arthur "Jim" Muck, 74, of Washington Avenue Dunkirk, formerly of Forestville, died peacefully in his Dunkirk home Saturday (Jan. 12, 2013), 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 and 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 and 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 three 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, on which his sons Steve and "Chip" played, to two 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 Tex-as 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 dis-cussed 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, Texas and Traci Koch, of Dunkirk; two sons Steve (Sandy) Muck, of Forestville and Nelson "Chip" (Michelle) Muck, of Cedar Park, Texas; a step daughter, Jennifer Salerno; a stepson, 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 three children Gerry Bartlett of Richmond, Texas and second wife Kathy Berek of Silver Creek. Also surviving are 11 grandchildren, five great grandchildren and several nieces and 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 and 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, 314 Central Avenue, Dunkirk, NY 14048. To post condolences go to www.rilesandwoolleyfuneralhome.com.