American Veteran 01

Joseph J. Fialko

February 1, 1925 ~ February 14, 2022 (age 97)


Joseph J. “Whitey” Fialko, age 97, died at home on February 14, 2022. Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, he was the son of the late Andrew and Anna (nee Cerep) Fialko. He had been a resident of Tonawanda since 1955. He is predeceased by his beloved wife, Josephine Fialko; cherished brothers and sisters; and extended family members, all of whom looked forward to meeting once again. He is survived by three children, Ann (Steve) Wagner, Joseph Fialko Jr., and Diane Brugos; six loving grandchildren, Ayla, Brittany, Ariel, Jeffery, Simon, and Jaron; many nieces and nephews with whom he shared long and lasting relationships. 

A proud veteran of WWII, serving in the 572nd Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, seeing action in various locations of the European Theatre under the command of the Seventh Army.  An avid attendant at 572nd C Battery reunions, and in later years he came to share stories of his time in service, igniting in his family renewed respect for his commitment to duty and responsibility. 

From shooting hoops through the rim of a trash can lid as a child, he went on to become a star of the Exeter High School basketball team, and a key member of the 572nd Battalion League championship winning team. He also excelled at baseball, playing minor league professional ball for one year, and being voted most valuable player in his local organized softball league. 

Always industrious, he worked many jobs, including time in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, until accepting an entry-level position at the Tonawanda General Motors Engine Plant. He remained at GM for more than 30 years, retiring as a general foreman in 1983. 

While remembered for his integrity and direct approach to all responsibilities set before him, many will remember him most as an ardent gardener. He found great joy in nurturing his impeccable vegetable gardens from seed to abundant fruition. 

Family and friends may call at Fretthold & Hamp Funeral Home, located at 37 Adam Street, in Tonawanda,  on Thursday from 2pm – 4pm.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, located at 73 Adam Street, beginning at 10am. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Hospice Buffalo. Condolences may be shared at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph, please visit our floral store.


February 17, 2022

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Fretthold & Hamp Cremation & Funeral Services
37 Adam Street
Tonawanda, NY 14150

Funeral Service
February 18, 2022

10:00 AM
St. Francis Chapel
71 Adam Street
Tonawanda, NY 14150

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