William A. "Woody" Gartz, age 66, passed away unexpectedly Friday, May 18, 2018, he died after a 6 month battle with Cholangio Carcinoma at Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville.
Woody was born December 12, 1951 in Rochester, a son of Eugene & Rose (Schwann) Gartz.
He was the 3rd of 7 children; Steve, Eugene, (Bill), James, Michael, Susan Bewley, and Martin. His family moved to Buffalo very early in Bill's life. He graduated from Lafayette High School in Buffalo, NY, class of 1969. He was drafted and did his basic training at Fort Dix, NJ.; then he served as an MP at Fort Mead, Maryland. He then was stationed at a nuclear weapons depot in Fishbach, Germany; where he ran the unit lounge. He was honorably discharge in March 1972; he then attended the Buffalo Police Academy; after which he began a 35-year career with the Buffalo Police Department. There he became known as "Woody". He began work on the West Side at Pct. 10; spent time as a dispatcher and worked on the Tactical Patrol Unit. He retired from the BPD in 2007; after having worked his last 10 years on the motorcycle squad of the Traffic Unit. During his long career he received many letters of commendation; received an Officer of the Month Award in November of 1995; and he was called an "outstanding" officer by Captain James J. Degenhart; and he helped run many choir practices. He married Melissa (Holyoke) Gartz in 1990; she survives. From 2009 to 2011, he drove school bus for the Ken-Ton school district. He was a favorite of the autistic kids and was known for keeping order just with his presence on the rowdier busses. He worked as a sales associate for Lowe's in Hornell, NY from 2015 – 2016.
He had two offspring, Spencer William Gartz, b. December 1991, and Colin Douglas b. February 1994. He also has a granddaughter, Piper Antoinette Gartz, age 18 months. His family resided in Kenmore, NY from 1990 until 2014; when they bought a Victorian granary in the Town of Ossian, NY, with 8 acres. Bill loved to say: "Did you ever think we'd own all these trees?!" Bill loved to travel sometimes on our motorcycles but also as a family. We rode to Virginia, the Adirondacks, Chicago, & Michigan. We travelled to Paris, London, the Grand Canyon, and Mexico. Bill was engaged and interested in people. He was very friendly and outgoing. He had a big, booming, voice and was a larger than life presence. He made friends wherever he went. He'd find out people's whole life histories in a few minutes of conversation. He also spent his life helping others and had great integrity.
He will be greatly missed by all that knew him but especially by his wife and children. He was Melissa's heart and her best friend for 33 years.
Come to celebrate and remember a life well lived, 1 to 4pm, Saturday, June 16th at Woody & Melissa's home, 11406 Canaseraga Rd., Dansville, NY 14437. Light refreshments served; bring your favorite Bill story to share. rsvp 716/491-1973 Melbee129@gmail.com
Contributions may be made to the Buffalo Police Benevolent Assoc., 74 Franklin St # 110, Buffalo, NY 14202.