Former Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski has died

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Former Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski has passed away.

Gorski served for three terms as county executive and legislated as a New York State Assemblyman before his time as executive. He’s also a United States Marine Corps veteran.

His final act in Western New York public service was as a justice in the Cheektowaga Town Court.

Gorski spoke with News 4’s Don Postles at the 1993 World University summer games in Buffalo. The Queen City was the first and last American city to host the games. Watch the interview below:  

New York State Senator Sean Ryan offered his condolences and says Gorksi embodied the spirit of Western New York through his public service.

“Dennis Gorski defended our nation’s freedom and proudly served the people of Erie County throughout a lifetime of public service. Dennis embodied the spirit of Western New York and will forever be remembered for his remarkable tenure as our County Executive. I offer my condolences to his wife, Mary Jo, his children, and all his family and friends,” NYS Senator Ryan said.

Congressman Brian Higgins is remembering Gorski as a man of honor, expressing his condolences to Gorski’s wife Mary Jo, children and grandchildren.

“Dennis Gorski was a man of honor and commitment to public service. From his days in Vietnam as a young soldier to his legislative service, to 12 trailblazing years as Erie County Executive to his final years as a Cheektowaga Town Justice, Dennis spent the entirety of his adult life in service to the people and the community he loved so dearly. Our deepest condolences go out to Dennis’ wife Mary Jo, his children and grandchildren, and his many friends and his many friends and extended family members,” said Higgins.

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Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner described Gorski as a “great friend, fierce advocate and exemplary citizen.”

“I once called Dennis Gorski the “gold standard” of public service, and that judgment stands as we mourn his passing on the anniversary of our nation’s founding. From military veteran to county legislator, three-term county executive, and town justice, Dennis was devoted to ideals above ideology, and believed in government that was at once fiscally responsible and compassionate.  Great friend, fierce advocate, and exemplary citizen: Dennis Gorski made this community stronger for his service and added to and upheld a proud family legacy. He will long be remembered and always missed,” added Zellner.

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Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw called Gorski a friend “outside of the political arena” and recounted the former county executive’s service to America and Western New York.

“Dennis Gorski honorably served our great nation around the world and our community here at home. We are forever grateful for his service to America, Cheektowaga, and Erie County. A combat veteran, Mr. Gorski lived his life dedicated to putting others first. Our professional paths first crossed in my time as an investigative reporter. He was a consummate political professional that understood and respected the role of a free press. Dennis was a great man. It was a privilege to call him a friend outside the political arena. Mr. Gorski was a conservative Democrat that regularly reached across the aisle to deliver results to taxpayers. Whether he served as a Legislator, Assemblyman, Erie County Executive or Town Justice, public service was his passion. May God bless his soul. Let us all say a prayer for Mr. Gorski and his family during this difficult time,” Mychajliw said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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