STARKEY, N.Y. -- Friends of a Toledo man killed in a two-vehicle accident in New York state said he was a joyous and compassionate individual who was an avid cyclist, kayaker, and member of a Maumee-based curling club.
Mark Wisniewski, 61, was killed, and his wife, Ellen L. Kluz, 58, was injured when their vehicle was hit Wednesday by a car driven by a 16-year-old boy from Ionia, N.Y., who also died in the crash.
"Mark was a gentle soul," said the Rev. Beth Marshall, the parish minister at the First Unitarian Church of Toledo, which Mr. Wisniewski attended.
"He always had a smile on his face. ... He was one of those people that you would just want to hang out with because he always had an upbeat take on things, a positive perspective on life."
Mr. Wisniewski was driving north on State Rt. 14 in Starkey, N.Y., in the Finger Lakes area shortly before 2:40 p.m., Wednesday, when his Toyota Prius was hit by a Dodge Neon driven by Patrick R. Parrish. The Parrish youth was traveling southbound when he pulled out to pass another car and hit Mr. Wisniewski's vehicle, according to a report that was released from the Yates County Sheriff's Department.
Starkey is about 65 miles southeast of Rochester.
Young Parrish's vehicle traveled about 30 feet south before stopping in the middle of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene and taken to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital in Penn Yan, N.Y. After being hit, Mr. Wisniewski's vehicle overturned off the east side of the road. Mr. Wisniewski was taken by Life Net 77 to Robert Packard Hospital in Sayre, Pa., where he was pronounced dead.
Ms. Kluz was taken by Dundee Ambulance to Schuyler Hospital in Montour Falls, N.Y., to be treated for injuries and was described as being in stable condition.
Mr. Wisniewski was employed as an accountant in the tax department at HCR ManorCare. Before moving to Toledo about 10 years ago, his family lived in the Twin Cities. Much of his family resides in St. Louis.
In addition to serving on a number of committees at the First Unitarian Church of Toledo, including finance and ministry, he made wine in his spare time from grapes in a small vineyard in his backyard and was known around the neighborhood for wearing a variety of "cool" and brightly-colored hats, said Ann Strickler, a fellow member of the church who said she knew Mr. Wisniewski for about nine years.
"He was a joyful person -- a person whose cheerfulness emanated in such a way that he was just so easy to like and easy to talk to," Ms. Strickler said. "It's going to be a community-wide loss," she said.
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