Niagara Gazette


December 11, 2012

BRADBERRY: Better today than yesterday...


Niagara Gazette — But in spite of his ability to mingle with the hierarchy, A.B. remained a humble, common man.

Perhaps more than anything else, A.B. was compelled to serve.

Active in his church as a Deacon, as a dedicated member of Rotary International, a long-time member of the Electric City Lodge, or President of the Black Pioneers, A.B. relished the idea of service above self; he was often the first to arrive and the last to leave any event or function that he committed to whether it was ringing the Salvation Army bells in the bitter cold, distributing dictionaries to school children or handing out bibles to anyone who needed an encouraging word, A.B. was there.

Like his father, A.B. enjoyed cooking, especially barbecuing. He was widely known in Western New York for his famous Ox roasts, pulled pork sandwiches and of course, his scrumptious, “finger lickin’ good, baby back ribs.

He told me more than once that he did it because he liked to see the joy that a good meal can bring to a person.

He loved the game of baseball, as a serious player in his younger days, and as a very serious fan when he got older. I had the honor of traveling with him to many good games in Baltimore, New York and Toronto. Once while sitting next to him in the bleachers at a Yankee game, I noticed that he was smiling contently with his eyes closed.

I nudged him and asked if he was alright, “Billy”, he said, “It doesn’t get any better than this…” I left him alone, closed my eyes and enjoyed the rest of the game.

As I have said here before, in addition to everything else, A.B. was a serious historian; few know, remember, or will ever know some of the people and real stories behind some of the most fascinating recent history of Niagara Falls the way he knew it.

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