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Memorial Tributes

Fallen but NOT Forgotten

John A. Heppner

Corrections Officer
February 12th, 1984

William L. Wassman

Corrections Officer

March 25th, 1988

Terrence A. Foxton

Corrections Officer
August 13th, 1996

Terrence A. Foxton, a corrections officer for the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department and an avid sportsman, died Tuesday (Aug. 13, 1996) in his Lakewood home after a brief illness.

Foxton, 49, was born in Gowanda and was a 1964 graduate of Solvay High School and Fredonia State College. From 1965 to 1968, he served in the U.S. Army.

He joined the Sheriff's Department in 1986. He was president of the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Employees Association and a member of Lakewood Rod and Gun Club, the Chautauqua County Sports Fishery Advisory Board and the Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen. Foxton served as a youth fishing instructor for the Sportsfishing and Aquatic Resource Education Program and was named the Sportsman Conservationist of the Year in 1986. Survivors include his wife, Shellie A. Kuziora of Lakewood; two brothers, Charles of Santa Barbara, Calif. and Richard of Albany; and a sister, Shirley Korensky of Rochester.

Zenon A. Panfil  


September 30th, 1998

Lt. Zenon A. Panfil of the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department died Wednesday (Sept. 30, 1998) in his Dunkirk home after a brief illness. He was 44.

Panfil, supervisor of the Chautauqua County Jail, also worked as a cameraman for WIVB-TV. He was a U.S. marshal and at one time was an officer of the Westfield Police Department. Panfil graduated from the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Academy and held an associate's degree from Jamestown Community College. He served on the Dunkirk Cable Television Advisory Board and was a member of the board of directors of the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry, Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council and the Child Find Program. He also was a member of the Neighborhood Watch program. Panfil was a member of the First Ward Falcon Club and Lodge 89, Loyal Order of Moose. He was an exempt fireman of the Hose 3 and a parishioner of St. Hyacinth's Catholic Church. Survivors include his wife, the former Roxane Ecker; a brother, Carl; and his mother, the former Marie Zebracki.

Donald C. Szwejbka

Deputy Sheriff Sergeant
January 21st, 1985

John R. Bentley

May 19th, 1994



Tributes poured in for Chautauqua County Sheriff John R. Bentley, 64, who died Thursday (May 19, 1994) in his home on Old Fluvanna Road after a long illness.

Lt. Gov. Lundine, who worked with Bentley while Lundine was mayor of Jamestown, described the county's top law-enforcement officer since 1973 as a public official "with absolute integrity." "Sometimes we take that for granted in a police officer," Lundine said, adding that Bentley had "an unwavering commitment to public service." Congressman Amory Houghton, R-Corning, called Bentley "a rock of solidarity." "He was always there and you knew the functions under his control were in pretty good shape." County Judge John T. Ward Jr., who was district attorney during most of Bentley's tenure, said, "I learned a lot from him in law enforcement and criminal justice as well as in the field of politics. He was a very accomplished player of the political game and was well liked and respected."

A Republican, Bentley won all his bids for election easily and was endorsed several times by Democrats.

County Executive Andrew Goodell called Bentley "the architect of the modern sheriff's department as we know it in Chautauqua County." Goodell also said that he will recommend Gov. Cuomo make either no appointment or name Undersheriff Jerome Ernewein to the post. Ernewein has served as acting sheriff for several months during the illness of Sheriff John R. Bentley, who died Thursday in his home in Fluvanna.

Whether or not the governor makes an appointment, the post will be filled in a special election in November. Sheriff Bentley's term, his seventh, had another year to run. A lifelong resident of the area, Bentley was born in Jamestown. His wife, the former Lorene Magnuson, died July 9, 1985. The couple had three sons and a daughter. John R. is a lieutenant in the Lakewood Police Dept. James G. is a homicide detective in the Colorado Springs, Colo., Police Department. David W. is a sergeant in the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department. Ann L. is head athletic trainer at Fredonia State College. A graduate of Bemus Point High School, Bentley took courses at Jamestown Community College and Nassau Community College. He was a police officer for more than 40 years, starting as a part-time officer with the Town of Ellicott and serving briefly in Jamestown. He joined the Sheriff's Department as a deputy in February 1956. He was a lieutenant when he was elected sheriff in 1972. He headed the Sheriff's Training Academy at Jamestown Community College, was instrumental in establishing Enhanced 911 in Chautauqua county, and helped establish the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force. He was a 41-year veteran of service in the Army, National Guard and Army Reserve. A life member of the Fluvanna Fire Department, he was a member of the Carroll Masonic Lodge and the Jamestown Consistory and was a Shriner.

C. Douglas Hawley   Communications Officer

April 12th, 2001

C. Douglas Hawley, 52, of 10 Rosage Drive, died Thursday (April 12, 2001) in Hamot Medical Center, Erie. He was born Oct. 30, 1948, in Jamestown, the son of Charles E. and Onalee Stowell Hawley. He had been employed by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department for 20 years, as an emergency and sheriff dispatcher and was a member of the Maple Springs Volunteer Fire Department. Besides his parents, he is survived by his fiancee, Terry Bean-Stone of Salamanca; two sons: Michael David Hawley of Westfield and Michael Allen Hawley of Dewittville; six grandchildren: Douglas, Jennica, Ashlyn and Charlotte Hawley, all of Westfield, and Kaytlyn and Trevor Hawley, both of Dewittville; a sister, Debra Crist of Bemus Point and David Hawley of Frewsburg. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents: Everett and Marjorie Hoyt Hawley; and his maternal grandparents: Clyde and Marjorie Casselman Stowell. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Freay Funeral Home. The Rev. Raymond Mitchell, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Mayville, will officiate. Burial will be in Bemus Point Cemetery. Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today in the Freay Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the Mayville or Hartfield or Maple Springs Fire Department Rescue Squads.

Thomas E. Drake Deputy Sheriff Lieutenant

September 28th, 2003

He was born Sept. 27, 1950, in Jamestown, the son of Stanley M. Drake and the late Beverley Ross Drake. He was a 1968 graduate of Mayville Central School and earned a four-year criminal justice degree from State College at Buffalo in 1972. He received defensive tactics training from the FBI and later became an instructor. Additional trainings included New York State Bureau of Municipal Police Instructor Development, defensive tactics seminar for Smith and Wesson, pressure point control instructor course, and defense tactics with flashlight and Law Enforcement Training Services at Oneonta, N.Y. He also received training in Pressure Point Spontaneous Knife Defense Instructor, New York State Bureau Municipal Police Defensive Tactics Instructor, and bomb threat management, critical incident management, and general police topics instructor, supervisor school. A lieutenant with the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department, he organized a neighborhood watch program and served as its coordinator. He organized and was the first juvenile officer, investigated child sexual abuse cases for several years and started the Sheriff's Explorer Post in July 1993. A martial artist since 1972, he was an instructor and taught self-defense to teachers and probation and social service employees. He was a loving and devoted father, who, above all else, loved spending time with his boys. He was a friend to many people and always went out of his way to help anyone in need. He will be sadly missed by everyone whose lives he touched. Besides his father of Dunkirk, he is survived by two sons: Steven and Nicholas Drake, both of Fredonia; two sisters: Cynthia Cowan and Susan Jacobs, both of Mayville; and a brother, Robert N. Drake of Ripley. Besides his mother, who died in 1985, he was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Edwin A. ''Biddy'' and Mary Dornberger Ross; and his paternal grandparents, Nelson A. and Allie Mae Drake. The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in the auditorium at Chautauqua Lake Central School, Mayville. The Rev. Gordon De Lar Vars, rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Mayville, will officiate. Burial will be in Mayville Cemetery. Friends will be received from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Freay Funeral Home, Mayville. Memorials may be made to the Tom Drake for Law Enforcement Scholarship Fund, c/o the business office at Chautauqua Lake Central School, 100 N. Erie St., Mayville, N.Y., 14757; or the Drake Children Educational Fund, c/o M&T Bank, 76 S. Erie St., Mayville.

Kay  L. Smith   Records Clerk

Jan. 28, 2014


Kaye L. Smith, 55, of Clymer, N.Y., died Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, at Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.She was born July 25, 1958, in Corry, Pa., the daughter of Charles and Margaret Olmstead Smith.Kaye was a 1976 graduate of Clymer Central School, and a 1986 graduate of Jamestown Community College with an associate degree in applied science and business administration. She had been employed at Clark Supply, Family Health Center, WCA Hospital, and most recently the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department.Article PhotosKaye L. Smith She attended the Fresh Fire Outreach, in Corry, Pa., Kaye had a deep spiritual faith, and enjoyed her bible study groups. She loved to cook, bake and decorate for friends and family. She especially enjoyed her nieces and nephews.She is survived by her mother, Margaret Smith, of Clymer, N.Y.; her two sisters: Beth (Jim) Barnes, of Jamestown, N.Y., and Connie (Jeff) Rice, Panama, N.Y.; a brother, Doug (Gidget) Smith, of Clymer, N.Y.; nieces and nephews: Crystal Surdyk, Holly (Paul) Snyder, Marcie (Mike) Brown, Lena (Eric) Wiedemann, Nathan Smith, Amanda, Kyle and Ryan Rice; and great-nieces and great-nephews: Eric and Max Surdyk, and Lilly and Charlie Snyder.She was preceded in death by her father, Charles Smith, who died March 12, 2008.A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, at the North Clymer United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Jacqueline Rhodes officiating. Burial will be in Clymer Center Cemetery.Friends will be received from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, at the Spitzer Funeral Home, Clymer, N.Y.Memorials to the North Clymer United Methodist Church or a charity of one's choice.

Kevin Link   Deputy

Oct. 19 , 2016


Deputy Kevin J. Link, 51, of Portland died unexpectedly Wednesday afternoon, October 19, 2016 in the Town of Portland. He was born March 13, 1965 in Dunkirk, the son of the late Robert and Joan (Dillenkofer) Link.

An area resident for most of his life, Kevin was a graduate of Fredonia High School, Class of 1983. He served in the United States Army from 1983-1986 as a helicopter crew chief as part of the 227 Aviation 1st Cav Division. He was stationed at Fort Hood, TX and was deployed to Honduras and El Salvador during their civil war. Upon leaving the service, Kevin served in the United States Army Reserves as a Combat Engineer from March 1998 to March 2000.

Kevin spent nine years near Albany, NY, where he was a Corrections Officer and then a Deputy Sheriff with the Albany County Sheriff's Department. It is while he was working in Albany that he met his wife, Kelly.

Upon his return to Chautauqua County, Kevin continued his law enforcement career as a deputy sheriff with the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office. He also served as a member of the Chautauqua County SWAT Team, Dive Team, and was a certified EMT. Kevin also worked part time as an EMT for the ALSTAR Ambulance Service. He served as a school resource officer at Cassadaga Central Schools, BOCES - LoGuidice Center, and most recently, Kevin served as the School Resource Officer for Silver Creek Schools, where his passion to help each student reach their fullest potential was his ultimate goal.

Kevin was a member of the Portland Congregational Church and the Westfield Fish and Game Club.

Kevin enjoyed duck and goose hunting, along with spending time with his family and friends.

Survivors include his wife, Kelly (Northway) Link, whom he married May 1997; one brother, Robert (Rena) Link of Dunkirk; one sister, Maggie (Doug) Owen of Dunkirk; three nieces, Kyleigh Link, Cassandra Link and Miranda Owen; one nephew, Nicholas Link, and one sister-in-law Megan Northway of Charlotte. He is also survived by his faithful companions and hunting buddies, Luci-Lu and Ethan.

Funeral services will be held Monday, October 24 at 11:00 AM in the First Baptist Church, 19 Union Street, Westfield. The Rev. R. Gordon Spiller will officiate. Military Honors will be accorded by the John W. Dill American Legion Post #434, Brocton. Calling hours will be held Sunday, October 23 from 4:00-8:00 PM at the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to Dogs on Deployment, PO Box 710286, Santee, CA 92072. Call (619) 800-3631.

Obituary from the Observer

Mike Seeley   Deputy

Feb. 9 , 2018


Michael E. Seeley, 44, of Jamestown, passed away on Friday, February 9, 2018, in the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, following a brave and courageous battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  A lifelong area resident, he was born September 30, 1973 in Jamestown, NY, a son of Wayne R. and Marilyn J. Walrod Seeley.  Mike was a 1991 graduate of Panama Central School, a graduate of Jamestown Community College and the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Academy.
He began his law enforcement career with the Lakewood Busti Police Department and joined the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department as a full time deputy on March 1, 2001. He enjoyed his 16 plus years with the department and was a former member of the Chautauqua County Dive Team and a former member of the Chautauqua County Fire Investigators Team.
Mike was a longtime active member of the Bemus Point Volunteer Fire Department, as a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician. He was instrumental in the implementation of the Emergency Medical Technician Program within the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department and the advancement of the Emergency Medical Technician Program Chautauqua County and the advancement of the Emergency Medical Technician Program within all of the volunteer fire departments. He also worked for Allstar Ambulance as an EMT and Dispatcher. For many years he volunteered his time as a Chautauqua County hunter safety instructor and worked with the Christian Bowhunter's teaching hunter safety and was a member of the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club.
He will be remembered as the most loving and caring husband, father, son and brother to his family. They will remember him as a loyal Syracuse Orangeman basketball fan and Buffalo Bills fan. He worked a short time with the Erie County Sheriff's Department, working security during Buffalo Bills games.
Surviving are his parents, Wayne and Marilyn Seeley of West Ellicott, his wife, Nicole Olson Seeley whom he married October 15, 2016, two children, Jordan M. Seeley, Allyssa J.M. Seeley both at home, two sisters, Jennifer R. (Eric) Scolton of Panama, NY, Julie A. (Michael) Callahan of Charlotte, NC, his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Gary and Anne Olson of Ashville, NY, six nieces and nephews, Danielle and Jackson Scolton, Lauren and Joshua Callahan, Becca and Cadan Carter, as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins. Also supporting him during this journey has been his lifelong friend Scott J. Shaw, who along with Walid Al-Jabiri and Sashene Bargar who were instrumental in founding the Fight For Seeley Facebook Page. Michael's wife and family are eternally grateful to them for their support throughout this journey and the love and support of our community.
The funeral will be held at 11 am Friday, February 16, 2018, in the First Lutheran Church. The Rev. Daniel K. Nagle, pastor will officiate. Burial will be in the Maple Grove Cemetery, Ashville, NY.
Friends will be received from 1-4 & 6-9 pm Thursday, February 15, 2018, in the Lind Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the Bemus Point Volunteer Fire Department, 13 Alburtus Ave. Bemus Point, NY 14712 or to the Pay Pal account on the "Fight For Seeley" Facebook page.

Obituary from Lind Funeral Home

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