Obituary

Senator Walter J. Floss, Jr.
Senator Walter J. Floss, Jr.

February 13, 1923 - December 8, 2018
Born in Buffalo, New York
Resided in East Amherst, New York
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Obituary

FLOSS, Senator Walter J., Jr.
December 8, 2018 age 95, beloved husband of the late Grayce T. (nee Thornberry); dear father of John J. (Jane), Robert (Nancy), Judy (Jerry) Dinse, Mary (Ken) Smith, Walter III (Denise), James (Annie), Margaret (Joe) Kurtz, Kathleen (Tom) Perry, Joseph (Debbie) and Therese Floss.; grandfather of 30 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren. The family will be present Thursday and Friday, December 13th and 14th from 4-8 PM at the (Amherst Chapel) AMIGONE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 5200 Sheridan Drive (at Hopkins) where prayers will be said on Saturday at 9:30 AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at St. Mary's Church, Swormville at 10:30 AM. Family and friends invited. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made in Walter's memory to Brothers of Mercy Foundation, 4520 Ransom Rd. Clarence, NY 14031 or WNY Disabled American Veterans, 130 S. Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14202. Share your condolences at www.AMIGONE.com.
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Feb. 13, 1923 — Dec. 8, 2018

When State Sen. Walter J. Floss retired in 1988, his colleagues "hailed the Clarence Republican as an outspoken, sometimes obstreperous, champion of small business, lower taxes and less government," The Buffalo News reported.

Fellow Republican Sen. Ralph Marino told Floss, "I don’t know of any other person who has the courage of his convictions that you have."

Sen. Floss, who operated a Clarence insurance agency, sponsored many bills designed to help small business owners. He created a state agency to help businesses follow state and federal regulations.

After his retirement, he immersed himself in activities with his wife of 57 years, their 10 children and their families.

"Growing up, he was always working to support his family, but after he retired, he enjoyed the time with my mother and the family," said his youngest child, Therese Floss.

Sen. Floss, of Clarence, died Dec. 8 in the Brothers of Mercy facility, where he had just arrived. He was 95.

Born in Buffalo, the first child and only son of insurance agent Walter J. Floss Sr. and Laura Lillis Floss, Mr. Floss was the brother of Mary P., Joan L., Jean M., Nancy and Dolores Floss.

A graduate of Public School 74, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve on his 17th birthday in 1940 - following his father, who fought in World War I, and his grandfather, who fought for the Union during the Civil War.

In 2012, Sen. Floss told News reporter Lou Michel that he received a telegram summoning him to active duty in June 1941, one week before graduation from Buffalo's Technical High School. He was granted a high school diploma before leaving.

Trained as a flight engineer, he was injured in December 1941 when a tractor crushed his foot. Avoiding amputation, Sen. Floss remained in service by appealing to a medical review board. He spent 46 months overseas, before being honorably discharged in October 1945.

On July 13, 1946, he and Grayce H. Thornberry married in St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Buffalo.

Sen. Floss opened Floss Insurance Agency on Transit Road in Clarence in 1945.

He studied business administration at Millard Fillmore College of the University at Buffalo.

Sen. Floss was elected to the Clarence Town Council in 1962, after serving on the town's Planning Board and as a constable.

In 1968, he was elected to the 16th District of the Erie County Legislature. In 1970, he was named chairman of the newly created Erie County Industrial Development Agency, serving in that post for 18 months.

In 1974, Sen. Floss was named a VIP by the Amherst Chamber of Commerce for his work as director and building chairman for Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

In 1978, he was elected a state senator representing the 59th District, later the 60th District.

In 1979, Sen. Floss helped create the Senate subcommittee on small business concerns, which became part of the Commerce Committee in 1985. He was the first chairman of the Senate's Standing Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business.

In his 10 years in the Senate, he was chairman of the majority task force on defense spending in the state and served on many task forces, legislative commissions and Senate standing committees, mostly focusing on financial and business topics.

In 1981, U.S. Sen. Lowell Weicker named Sen. Floss to the 25-member U.S. Senate Small Business Advisory Committee.

In 2000, Sen. Floss's son Joseph bought the insurance agency.

In retirement, Sen. Floss focused on travel with his wife and family events. Mrs. Floss died Jan. 9, 2004, after 57 years of marriage.

His daughter Therese described Christmas Eve gatherings of 80 or 90 family members at his house — "pretty much immediate family," and a few cousins, she said.

He was an exempt member and past treasurer of the East Amherst Fire Department; a charter member, past grand knight and past district deputy of the Holy Name Council 3974 of the Knights of Columbus; a former member of the Ignatius Retreat League; and a member and past commander of the Swiftwater Power Squadron. He belonged to the Aero Club, Buffalo Yacht Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Chapter 120 of the Disabled American Veterans, the Clarence Rotary Club and the United States, Buffalo, Amherst and Clarence chambers of commerce.

He was the longest-tenured member of the Alfred J. Jurek American Legion Post.

Besides his daughter Therese, Sen. Floss is survived by five sons, John J., Robert, Walter III, James and Joseph; four other daughters, Margaret Kurtz, Kathleen Perry, Judy Dinse and Mary Smith; 30 grandchildren; and 38 great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Mary's Church, Swormville.

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Services

Visitation
Amherst Chapel
5200 Sheridan Drive
Amherst, NY US 14221
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Friday, December 14, 2018
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Mass of Christian Burial
St. Mary's Church
6919 Transit Rd.
Swormville, NY 14051
Saturday, December 15, 2018
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Interment
St. Mary's Cemetery (Swormville)
8233 County Road
East Amherst, New York 14051
Saturday, December 15, 2018

Charities

Brothers of Mercy Campus Foundation
4520 Ransom Rd.
Clarence, NY 14031
WNY Disabled American Veterans
130 S. Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, New York 14202