By Steve Kantor and Barbara Lindstrom
Paul Fedorsak passed away on March 8, 2021. In our motorcycle ‘world’, he was an organizational GIANT in the planning and execution of countless motorcycle events; both worthwhile charity fund-raisers and many events that were just for fun. I first met Paul in 2004 when I decided that I wanted to be Western New York’s go-to motorcycle accident attorney. Back then I had never even been on a motorcycle. Paul was working at American Harley Davidson and sold me my first bike, a Sportster. He soon introduced me to the riding clubs, HOG groups, and event coordinators that make Western New York’s riding community so incredibly vibrant and special.
Little did I know that my nights and weekends would soon be filled with attending bike nights and charity rides. I was overwhelmed with trying to find the time to balance my career as a lawyer with my new found love, and appreciation for the motorcycle community. Paul quickly solved that dilemma when in April 2007, he began working at the Kantor Law Firm as the Marketing Director. Requests quickly began pouring into our office to support this event, or donate to that worthy charity. Paul selected the events that he believed would support his friends. Before I knew it, the Kantor Law Firm had a pop-up tent and thousands of colorful promotional koozies. When I had the opportunity to attend an event, I was regularly asked, “do you work for Paul?” When I would try to explain that “I” was Kantor, and that Paul worked with me, I would catch Paul smiling with an ear-to-ear grin, disrupted only by the large cigar that frequently hung from his mouth. When asked if he was one of the lawyers, Paul would quickly retort with a laugh and: “I am not a lawyer, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn.” He really enjoyed attending the multiple bike nights and having the opportunity to mingle with tons of people while promoting the law firm.
Paul was a Board Member and served as an officer of both Wyoming County and Niagara Falls HOG Groups. He was also the Legislative Director of WNY ABATE. If you had a motorcycle event, you could absolutely guarantee that Paul had an opinion on how to make it bigger and better. He was quick to throw on a vest, and start organizing bikes to maximize parking space. He earned the crown of organizational “Road Captain” when he successfully executed two of the most impressive New York State HOG Rallies ever. He was the Director of the Ellicottville Rally in 2013 and co-director of the Niagara Falls Rally in 2008. When we attended subsequent rallies, Paul was extremely proud when he was frequently told by participants that those events were “not as fun” or “not as well organized” as the rallies that Paul had spear-headed.
While working on any of the multitudes of events he participated in, he would do an incredible amount of “homework” to secure the perfect location and the appropriate atmosphere. If the event involved a ride, he would complete a few pre-rides of the chosen route to note challenging or difficult corners, possible road hazards and/or road construction along the way. The day previous to the actual ride, Paul would bring along a broom and literally follow the route to stop and sweep the edge of the roads to make sure the slippery gravel was completely removed! That’s just a small example of how conscientious he was about providing a safe and fun adventure for everyone.
Many of Paul’s skills were crafted by the United States Air Force. He proudly served as a Flyboy for 28 years, with his last rank being that of Master Sergeant. He had traveled throughout the world while defending our country, and always brought his golf clubs with him. His fierce love for the United States of America often led to spirited debates over the direction of the country’s course of action. Paul simply loved our beautiful country and strongly believed in his opinions, but, if you disagreed with him, you were still welcome to a Kantor Koozie, a fine cigar, and a sip of bourbon.
Paul was always sure to take the lead on our rides, even though my bike was the one equipped with GPS. I cannot say he was always geographically accurate, but the adventures we had were priceless, and those memories will never be forgotten. I mean, just how many times can we go around a traffic circle??? Right now, I’m sure Nova is chuckling about that memory… Anyways, when I was unavailable, Paul had a great group of friends who would accompany him on his adventures throughout the years. Barb, Nova, Steve, Rip, Ice, Jack and Wrae were only some (of the many!) of Paul’s compatriots who soon became my friends.
One of Paul’s more formidable tasks was writing a monthly article for the Hard Tales Magazine. He came up with various topics through the years and was always searching for more interesting information to share. Paul’s prose included stories about safe riding, motorcycle tips, personal reflections and roadside attractions. He loved when somebody would flag him down at a bike night and comment (good or bad…) on an article he wrote. His companion Barb served as his editor and spelling guru, for which Paul and I were eternally grateful.
The Kantor Law Firm and WNY Riding community will never be the same in the wake of Paul’s untimely passing. Paul truly had a LOVE of riding that extended all the way back to his boyhood. So, in the future, as you enjoy the sheer freedom of riding, I hope that you continue to think of our loyal friend, Flyboy. A memorial celebration is being planned for the weekend of July 17-18th. Information will be posted in Hard Tales and on Cyberspokes when all of the details are finalized.
PS… Steve sent me a copy of his (above) tribute to honor Paul, and he had asked if I’d like to add anything, and yes, I would. First off, I’d like to sincerely thank everyone from the BOTTOM of my HEART, who have reached out to offer their condolences to myself, and my family. Each and every kind word has given us a huge amount of comfort as we attempt to come to terms with our sudden loss of this amazing man. He was so many things to so many people, and I assure you, he had a genuinely good soul. I’d like to bend your ear for a minute and offer you some insight about this incredible guy called ‘Flyboy”…
Even before Paul was my man, I, along with all that were part of his tribe, saw first-hand how he truly valued the important people in his life. Since 2002, I was lucky enough to be included in multitudes of invitations as he hosted gatherings to celebrate this, or that. Working with Paul during events was always tons of fun even though he was absolutely focused and motivated to have the best experience possible. He was so helpful to everyone during any activity and scrambled to make things right if something went haywire. Paul prided himself on being extremely organized and was incredibly ambitious in successfully accomplishing any new endeavors. Paul was ‘old-school’ when it came to his character and was always true to himself and others. Because of that, you always knew how you stood with him because he didn’t beat around the bush or pretend to be what he was not. He felt much pride in working hard, in trusting people and totally believed in showing respect for authority. Paul had more integrity than anyone I have ever known… As he was growing up, he told me his Mom always stressed that he had to live according to good morals and manners. He said that even though he was a scrawny kid, he bravely stood up for anyone being bullied, and that empathy certainly carried on throughout his entire life. Paul loved to talk (am I right, Derek?) and was absolutely sincere when he was catching up with his friends. If you needed an ear, he would always be encouraging, supportive and understanding while offering reasonable and real options for any choices to be made. Paul was incredibly modest about his accomplishments, but confident in the course his life had taken. I’ll never forget how he seemed to take it in stride when he was looking at enduring a quadruple bypass surgery… his attitude spoke “get it done, so I can start the next phase of my life”. Paul was absolutely determined to live life to its fullest and was enthusiastic about enjoying every opportunity for adventure in our lives. He (thankfully) embraced my quirky addiction of traveling throughout this country to find tons of unusual Roadside Attractions, like the World’s Largest Ball of Twine – so very cool! Paul was wonderfully witty and humorous, voicing the most unexpected comments when you least expected them, and it always made me laugh out loud. You could never predict what silliness would come out of his mouth! He also treated those he loved in his life like gold, and was so considerate of their personalities and desires. If he knew you were coming by to visit, he made sure to provide everything you would enjoy…drinks, snacks and food… while providing the perfect atmosphere (music, campfire, darts, sun or shade, ect) …. the whole package! Paul was so very thoughtful and also gave the greatest gifts to those he cared about. He enjoyed taking time to search for, and select, just the right item and he always nailed it perfectly! Paul occasionally expressed a tiny bit of regret that he had never married, or had children, but has repeatedly proclaimed that he is eternally grateful to have been lovingly embraced into our huge, crazy-busy family. For the last 5 years, he steadfastly stood by us all, through every challenge that life gave us… the good, the bad and the ugly!
Anyways, as I’ve said, he meant different things to different people, but please remember him to be the most generous, caring, reliable, honest and considerate man. He truly was. He meant the world to me, and not because I’ve never met a person who cared so much for others, as he did. Yes, that was definitely part of it, but mostly because he treated me so very gently, with his love for me as the basis of his every underlying intention towards me. For that, I will be forever grateful… to experience that depth of love.
P.S.S. I’d like to share a thought my daughter Carrie offered to me the other day. It was meant to sooth my hollow heart and I was thinking you all might appreciate it… Let’s imagine that we all come into this world with our ‘expiration dates’ already secretly stamped onto our souls by a supreme being… If that is the case, Carrie said she takes much comfort in the fact that when Paul’s time was up and he left us, at the very least, he was incredibly happy because he was treasured and loved by so many, many people.