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The Joseph & Ursula Reszka Scholarship

When Joseph Reszka passed away in January of 2004 his sons wanted to honor both him and their mother Ursula for the sacrifices they had made to educate them at Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York. To that end, they have created the Joseph & Ursula Reszka Scholarship at Canisius.

The four-year, partial scholarship will be available to a freshman entering Canisius in the Fall of 2004. Each year it will be given to a student who has both a demonstrated financial need and a parent or grandparent who served on active duty in the United States Air Force.

It is the goal of their sons Michael ’70, Peter ‘72 and Steven ’77 that, over time, a growing endowment will increase the scholarship to full tuition.

You would have never known it from meeting them, but Joseph and Ursula Reszka were heroes. They weren’t great athletes or entertainers and didn’t find a cure for cancer, but they definitely fit Webster’s definition of heroes as someone “admired for his or her exploits.”

They were heroes where it counted most … at home. A working-class husband and wife, Joe and Ursula set aside their needs and sacrificed so their three sons could get the best possible education. To Joseph and Ursula nothing was more important than a good education for their children. Money was often very tight. There were no exotic vacations, fancy cars or trendy clothes because money for tuition, books and other costs associated with high school came first.

Joseph often had to work two jobs to pay the bills. Ursula managed the household budget and always found ways to cut corners, saving enough money to pay both the bills and tuition, even when Joseph was out of work for a year. They were heroes because they sacrificed of themselves for the benefit of their family.

This sacrifice and hard work was rooted early in their relationship. During Joseph’s 23-year career in the Air Force, he served in military bases throughout Europe, North Africa and the United States. After World War II he met Ursula in Germany, where she too was working for the Air Force. In 1948, Joseph and his team, which included Ursula, played a vital role in the Berlin Air Lift, making sure the airplanes’ navigation and flight systems kept up with the rigorous schedule of continually delivering supplies to occupied Berlin. Joseph and Ursula married in 1951.

After his retirement from the Air Force in 1963, Joseph worked for many years at Bell Aerosystems in Niagara Falls, New York where he played an integral role in perfecting electronic parts for NASA’s Lunar Module. Prior to that project, he created a component called a digital accelerometer, which was used in NASA’s Surveyor Lunar Lander, the first spacecraft to land safely on the moon in the mid-1960s. The part, which still sits on the moon, has Joseph’s name engraved on it. True to their modesty and belief that it was “all in a day’s work” many in their family never knew of their exploits until recently.

The Joseph & Ursula Reszka Scholarship with the hope that students demonstrating financial need and a parent or grandparent who served in the United States Air Force can also receive a Jesuit education that enlightens, enriches and lasts for a lifetime.

Please Send Your Donations To:

Ms. Brenda Franks
Joseph & Ursula Reszka Scholarship
Canisius High School
1180 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14209-1494

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