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David L. Condren -- July 15, 2019

David L. Condren, a newspaper reporter in Western New York for more than 42 years and church musician for nearly as long, entered peacefully into rest after a brief illness, in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, on July 15, 2019 with his family by his side.  He was 81.

Dave retired from the Buffalo News on Dec 1, 2002, after working there for nearly 20 years, including 14 years as religion reporter.  Earlier, he had worked at the former Buffalo Courier-Express and the Niagara Falls Gazette.  He began is newspaper career in 1960 with a three-year stint at the Lockport Union-Sun and Journal.  Following the demise of the Courier-Express in 1982, Dave worked at WKBW-TV for five months as a news writer and weekend assignment editor.  As religion reporter for the News, he wrote about issues faced by all faiths – and their members – ranging from the Catholic Church to Protestant churches to Islam and Judaism.  He covered visits by the since-canonized Pope John Paul II to New York City and Denver, CO., where he had the opportunity to shake hands with the Pontiff.  The religion beat also took him to national gathering of the American Catholic bishops in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and Dallas, TX.  In 2001, he was presented the St. Paul Award from the Buffalo Catholic Diocese for his extensive coverage of the Catholic Church.  At the Courier-Express, Dave covered Erie County’s infamous domed stadium episode, as well as planning for Buffalo’s Metro Rail system and numerous major highways.  For a time he was assigned to the Courier’s Amherst Bureau, covering Amherst and Clarence during the period of their most rapid growth.  Dave often said he felt fortunate to have worked for four newspapers and television station without ever moving from the city of Lockport, where he had resided since 1960.

A family man, Dave enjoyed gatherings where, along with his wife, the former Diane E. Cutter, they were surrounded by their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He and Diane were married more than 58 years.  A gifted singer, he played the guitar and led a folk ensemble in his parish, St. Mary’s, Lockport, for nearly 35 years.  After passing the baton, he remained with the group for another five years until the church was closed by the Catholic Diocese in 2011.  His music ministry included countless solo performances at weddings and funerals.

Dave also composed folk songs and numerous hymns and psalm settings, many of which were performed by his fold ensemble and others.  A former member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, he attended many regional and national training conventions.  Dave was a former Catholic seminarian.  He spent three years studying for the priesthood in the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales, the religious order that operated the former DeSales Catholic High School in Lockport.  He often quipped that once you take a vow of poverty, it “never let’s go of you” – a reference to the modest salaries typically paid to newspaper reporters.

He was a 39-year member of the Buffalo Newspaper Guild, a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 319 and the William Ryan Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and a volunteer at St. Mary’s (later All Saints) St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry, all in Lockport.  He served six years in the Army National Guard.  In retirement, Dave and Diane enjoyed touring Italy, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.  They also made winter visits to Port Charlotte, FL., and enjoyed semi-annual vacations to Las Vegas.

Born in Lockport on November 7, 1937, he was the son of Francis D and Margretta Jones Condren.  He grew up amid the dairies and orchards of the Town of Newfane.  He was a 1955 graduate of DeSales Catholic High School.  As a seminarian he attended the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.  Later, he studied accounting at Niagara University.

Besides his wife, Dave is survived by a son, Jeffrey R (Sandra) Condren, four daughters, Lori A (Joe) Prica, Patricia L (Wayne) Truax, and twins, Colleen A (ReaAnn) Smith and Maureen E (Jim) Anderson; 17 grandchildren, Kyle and Courtney Condren, Erin (Jeremy) Stoddard, John Horan, Nichole Diel, Joshua (Kasia) Diel, Melanie and Deanna Platt, Carlie and Autumn Wollaber, Theresa (Erick) Gunio, Christopher Baker, Kimberly Truax, Chelsea (Justin) Superczynski, Jamie and TJ Schul, and Sara Anderson;  16 great-grandchildren; a sister, Mary Ellen (Bob) Fuller, a brother, Jim (Liz) Condren; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.  He was predeceased by a younger brother, D. Michael (Joanne) Condren.

A wake will be held at Prudden and Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., Lockport, on Monday, July 22, 2019 from 4-8pm.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in St John the Baptist Catholic Church, 168 Chestnut St., Lockport on July 23, 2019 at 10am.  Entombment will be in Our Lady of Peace Mausoleum in Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Town of Lockport.  Memorial donations to the Parkinson's Foundation of WNY, 2805 Wehrle Dr., Suite 12, Williamsville, NY 14221 would be appreciated.  Visit pruddenandkandt.com.

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