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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Paul Theodore Buerger, M.D., passed away October 7, 2014, in the care of Niagara Hospice and his loving family.

He was predeceased by his wife of 67 years, Jean (Helmke) and his sons Peter (Barbara) and John. He is survived by Christine Buerger Soka1, of Durham North Carolina, Sharon (Thomas) Hewner, of Ransomville, Paul Jr., of Lockport, James (Linda), of Reading, Pennsylvania, and Mary (Greg) Cranford, of Greensboro, North Carolina. He is also survived by seventeen grandchildren, Josh and Ben Sokal, Michael Hewner, Gretchen Sutcliffe and Amelia Wachur, Laura, Julie and Paul III, J. Andrew, Brian, Matt, Amanda, Katherine, Caleb, Elizabeth, Wade and Bradley Cranford, and his great grandchild Abigail Sutcliffe. He is also survived by his wife's cousin, Audrey Golnick.

Born March 17, 1926, son of Theodore and Caroline (Kreitner), Dr. Buerger graduated from Buffalo Technical High School, enlisted in the Navy in 1943, received medical training at the University of Rochester, and served in WW II as a medic. After the Japanese surrender he completed his medical training at the University of Buffalo and the E.J. Meyer Hospital. He returned to active duty in the Korean Conflict serving as M.A.S.H. commander for several years, and received honors including the Bronze Star. He served in the military reserves for many years, and again returned to active duty in the Army from 1984-1992, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Dr. Buerger established a medical practice in Obstetrics in Lockport in 1955 and delivered thousands of babies at the Lockport Memorial Hospital between that time and returning to the service. Dr. Buerger served as chief of staff in 1977. Paul and Jean formed life-long friendships with Doctors Stein, Martin and Carosella and their wives, in addition to his partners Doctors Daly and Kirol. He served on the staff at the University of Buffalo Medical School and was a member of many professional organizations. In retirement he obtained a masters in anthropology from UB.

Dr. Buerger was a descendant of one of the founders of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, who emigrated from Germany in 1840, and was a member of North Park Lutheran Church in Buffalo and Trinity Lutheran in Lockport. He was a founding member and President of Mount Olive Lutheran Church, in 1960, and was influential in the construction of their beautiful building and the recruitment of Pastors Meisenbring, Albertein and Jagow. He was able to participate in the church's 50th anniversary, and was grateful to the many families who kept the church thriving and to its current Pastor, Rev. Zang. Dr. Buerger was a long time member of the Lutheran Medical Missionary Association, was a medical missionary in Nigeria, a Native American reservation and in Kazakstan.

Paul and Jean built and restored lovely homes on East Avenue and Keck Road in Lockport, and on the West Bluff and Sunrise Lane on Lake Ontario. They found time for dozens of trips all over the world with family and friends, including a visit to the family's ancestral home in Lunzenau, Germany. Dr. Buerger was a licensed pilot and traversed the continent many times in his Piper Cherokee, including a trip to Alaska. He also loved his dogs and his boats.

Dr. Buerger's many accomplishments were dwarfed by his love for Jean and his Children, in-laws, grandkids and great-grandchild. His quality of life was greatly affected by the untimely deaths of his son Peter, who followed his footsteps into medicine and the military, and John, who followed no one's footsteps. Paul was never complete after Jean's death. Nevertheless, his survivors appreciated every day of his life, and look forward to the day when they can rejoin Dad, Mom, Peter and John in eternal life.

Dr. Buerger is survived by his children Paul T. Buerger Jr., James E. (Linda J.) Buerger, Christine A. Buerger-Sokal, Sharon J. (Thomas F.) Hewner and Mary E. (Gregory H.) Cranford; 17 grandchildren and one great grandchild; and daughter in-law, Barbara Buerger.

Relatives and friends may call Sunday, Oct. 12th from 3-7 PM in Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., Lockport and Monday, Oct. 13th from 9-10 AM in Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 6965 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Lockport where funeral services will immediately follow at 10 AM. Interment will be in Cold Springs Cemetery.  Flowers gratefully declined, memorials to the church or to Niagara Hospice, 4675 Sunset Drive, Lockport, NY 14094, would be appreciated by the family.

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