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Politics

Nicholas Konst, 93, WWII Vet, Attorney, Ran Nixon’s Local Campaign

September 15, 2019

BUFFALO, NY – Nicholas Konst, of Lancaster, NY, a lifelong attorney who worked for the Erie County Water Authority and led the Lancaster and Erie County Republican parties, died September 1, in the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was 93.

Konst was born on October 15, 1925 in Depew, the first of four children of Harry and Nellie Malkiewicz Konst. He attended high school in Depew and had completed a year and a half of pre-law undergraduate studies at the University of Buffalo (UB) when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on November 27, 1943.

Konst was trained as an electronic technician’s mate second class in Indiana, Texas, and Chicago before being assigned to a Mobile Communications Unit off the Philippines. His family said that he received a Purple Heart after being shot in the leg, and was a chief petty officer on a PT boat that was being prepared for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.

After being honorably discharged on May 26, 1946, Konst resumed his studies, graduating from the UB School of Law in 1949 and being admitted to the New York State bar.

From January 1953 to January 1965, he was chief of staff for John R. Pillion, who represented the 39th Congressional District. In that role, he coordinated the local committees working for Republican presidential candidates, including Barry Goldwater.

Konst worked as Lancaster town attorney and a justice in Sloan in the mid-1960s, then, from the 1970s through the late 1980s, was attorney for the Erie County Water Authority.

As The Buffalo News reported, “After Richard M. Nixon visited Buffalo during his successful presidential campaign in 1968, a 60-foot ‘Nixon’s the One’ banner appeared across the roof of a Lancaster home, visible to passengers on planes leaving and arriving at the Buffalo airport.”

The home belonged to Konst, who had been chief of staff for Congressman Pillion, and headed the local committees to elect Nixon in both 1968 and 1972, Buffalo News reported, noting that Konst had taken the banner after Nixon visited War Memorial Auditorium on October 7, 1968, according to Konst’s son, Harry N. Konst. Konst and his sons placed it on the roof where it stayed for six months. “People would fly in and out of Buffalo and later call to tell us they saw the banner with Nixon’s picture on it,” his son told The Buffalo News.

Konst also practiced law at the Pillion Law Office in Lackawanna and Konst Law in Depew and in the Main Place Mall. In his practice of international law, he traveled the world to meet with business associates and clients.

In the 1970s, he taught labor law as an adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo.

He met his wife-to-be, Nellie Kardoulias, in the Sunday School of the Greek Orthodox Church. They married there in 1951.

The couple traveled extensively and filled their home with art from across the world. They also entertained frequently, throwing parties for friends and associates from the world of politics.

In the summer of 1969, Konst and his son Harry were struck by a vehicle while crossing Transit Road at Terrace Boulevard in Depew. They were both injured, starting Konst on decades of orthopedic repairs, including five hip replacements.

His wife died on December 27, 2015, after 63 years of marriage.

Besides his son Harry, Konst is survived by another son, George Konstantakis; two daughters, Calliope Konst and Lynn Crosby; a brother, Spiro Konst; four grandchildren and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A private memorial service is planned for late October.

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