BUFFALO — Larry Felser, the lead sports columnist for The Buffalo News for 25 years, has died at age 80. The newspaper said his death Wednesday followed a brief illness.
‘‘Larry was basically the voice of sports in Buffalo for a generation,’’ said Howard Smith, former executive sports editor at The News. ‘‘He interpreted what went on, and his opinion really helped color the opinions of a whole generation of sports readers.’’
Born in Buffalo, Mr. Felser worked for the News for 38 years after spending 12 years at the Courier-Express, where he started as a copy boy in 1953. He chronicled the Buffalo Bills from their inception in 1960 to his retirement in 2001 and continued to write a weekly column until 2012.
‘‘I had tremendous respect for Larry and we developed a deep friendship that lasted throughout our lifetimes,’’ Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. said in a statement. ‘‘We shared some great laughs over the years and that’s what I am remembering most today about Larry.’’
Mr. Felser was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. In 1984, he received the Dick McCann Memorial Award for distinguished reporting of professional football.
At the time of his retirement, Mr. Felser was one of only eight writers to have covered each of the first 35 Super Bowls. He could have kept attending, the newspaper said, but he demurred. ‘‘I plan to watch the game on my couch with a beer in my hand, the way God intended,’’ he said.
Mr. Felser leaves his wife of 47 years, Beverly, and two daughters.