As Western New York gets ready to ring out 2011 and ring in 2012, let’s take a look back at a few of the notable Western New Yorkers we lost this year.
It wasn’t a great year for Buffalo Bills’ and Buffalo Sabres fans. On January 10, Bills’ fans heard the news that former Buffalo Bill Cookie Gilchrist had died at age 75 after a long battle with cancer. Gilchrist, the Buffalo Bills’ first superstar, was one of the most powerful runers that football had ever seen. Gilchrist weighed in at 251 pounds and stood 6-foot-3 in his playing days.
Dr. Clara Ambrus, a prominent and world-renowned doctor and noted humanitarian, 86, died February 26. Dr. Ambrus died from injuries suffered in a house fire. Clara Ambrus met her husband Dr. Julian Amburs Sr. in Hungary, and they married in 1946. Both were members of the medical staff for Kaleida Health.
James R. Kaskie, president and chief executive officer of Kaleida Heath said:
“On behalf of the 10,000 members of the Kaleida Health family, we send our most sincere condolences to the entire Ambrus family. As I have said before, this loving couple was very well-known throughout Western New York for their contributions to medicine as well as their humanitarian efforts. Dr. Ambrus will be missed by many.”
Buffalo Sabres fans were dealt a blow when Rick Martin, 59, died on March 13. The Buffalo Sabres Hall of Famer and one-third of the famed French Connection, died after he suffered a heart attack and lost control of his car. An autopsy later revealed that the high-scoring left winger who wore number Buffalo Sabers number 7 died from Hypertensive Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease, a serious form of heart disease.
Martin, Renee Robert and Gilbert Perreault, the three members of the Buffalo Sabres’ French Connection in the 1970s, had recently been reunited on the ice at First Niagara Arena when billionaire Terry Pegula purchased the Buffalo Sabres from billionaire Rochester Thomas Golisano.
Family, friends and co-workers of Tim Oehmler were shocked when he passed away suddenly on May 5. A registered nurse, Tim, 55, was the transplant manager of the Multi-Organ Transplant Center at Buffalo General Hospital. Tim earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1979 from D’Youville College, and a master’s degree in health service administration in 2004. Tim, an avid runner, was a loving and dedicated husband and father, a cherished co-worker, always ready with a joke and a smile.
Buffalo Bills’ fans were dealt another blow when Kent Hull, 50, center for the Buffalo Bills’ center during Bills glory days, died on October 19 from gastrointestinal bleeding at his home in Greenwood Mississippi. Kent Hull arrived in Buffalo the same day as Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, August 19, 1986. Kelly rode in a limo to the Bills press conference, Hull in an equipment truck.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Hull was inducted onto the Bills’ Wall of Fame in 2002. He was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
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