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DR. BRUNO SCHUTKEKER DIES; PSYCHIATRIST PIONEERED FAMILY, GROUP THERAPY HERE

A memorial service for Dr. Bruno Gustav Schutkeker, a psychiatrist who pioneered family and group therapy here, will be conducted at 7 p.m. Friday in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst, 6320 Main Street, Amherst.

Schutkeker, 86, died Sunday (Dec. 30, 1990) in Millard Fillmore Hospital.

He had been head of psychiatry or neuropsychiatric services over the years at the Veterans Hospital, Buffalo Psychiatric Center and Erie County Medical Center, where he also was chief of forensics.

Schutkeker maintained a private practice at 288 Linwood Ave. until he entered the hospital a month ago. He retired 10 months ago after 33 years as chief of psychiatry at the county hospital's Downtown Alcoholism Clinic.

Known to many as a maverick in his field, Schutkeker was a psychiatrist for 56 years. He testified frequently as an expert witness in court -- always on behalf of the defense, the underdog, the criminally insane, colleagues said.

"He was certainly a leader in psychiatry," said Dr. John G. Robinson, an acquaintance of Schutkeker's for more than 30 years and his successor as head of psychiatric service at the Veterans Hospital. "He was always highly respected by his colleagues. He was never afraid to take a stand. He was always the advocate of the patients and their needs.

"When he was at the hospital, he established very effective programs for the veterans of World War II. He was a great teacher of group therapy and a teacher and leader in the community of group therapy and its many kinds of applications."

Richard A. Stanislawsky, a supervising alcoholism counselor at the county clinic, who knew Schutkeker since it opened in 1957, referred to Schutkeker's death as "the passing of a legend."

"He was instrumental in the organization of the clinic and its program," he said. "His interest in forensic psychiatry, in testifying in court on behalf of the underdog, was something he really enjoyed. 'Underdog' was his own term -- he was the underdogs' crusader."

In a 1986 interview in The Buffalo News, Schutkeker said: "I have only compassion for the criminal. You know all the things that can go wrong in a family -- alcoholism, brutality, molestation. People are programmed to become criminals. So we, society, are to blame. You're never going to cure this thing by punishing people. Not only don't I feel guilty, I feel good."

Stanislawsky referred to Schutkeker as "a walking history book -- especially when it came to the history of Buffalo's German-American community."

Schutkeker was born on Buffalo's East Side. His father was from Germany, his mother from Prussia. Schutkeker, according to his son, John, was "self made -- he put himself through college, working in various plants in the area."

Schutkeker was a 1921 graduate of the old Hutchinson Central High School and a 1924 graduate of the University of Buffalo. He received his medical degree from UB's School of Medicine in 1928, was qualified as a psychiatrist in 1934 and did post-graduate work at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons from 1934 to 1935 as well as the Syracuse University School of Medicine from 1945 to 1947.

Schutkeker also was a World War II veteran. He served in the Army Medical Corps in the European Theater from 1940 to 1946 and held the Bronze Star, Commendation Ribbon, Meritorious Service Wreath and three Battle Stars.

He was a lieutenant colonel and commanding officer of the 119th Medical Battalion, 44th Infantry Division, 7th Army. He was made a colonel in 1946 and served as a surgeon general with the New York National Guard of the Medical Corps until retiring from the guard in 1966.

Schutkeker also served as a member of the Board of Impartial Examiners of the state Workmen's Compensation Bureau here from 1947 to 1968.

He was made a Diplomate of the American Boards of Neurology and Psychology in 1947 and was a life member and former fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He taught psychiatry at the UB School of Medicine from 1946 to 1974 and was a member of the faculties of the Erie County Sheriff's Academy, Gowanda Psychiatric Center and old School of Nursing at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

Twice president of the board of the Western New York Epilepsy Association, he received its Epilepsy Man of the Year Award in 1975. He was on the boards of directors of both the Epilepsy Foundation and Crisis Services, which named him Man of the Year in 1968.

He was on the board of directors of many organizations, including the Erie County Mental Health Association, which made him Man of the Year in 1952.

In 1981 he was one of 29 physicians in the United States to go to China to exchange ideas on caring for the mentally ill.

Schutkeker's wife, the former Natalie Buck, died in 1964.

Besides his son, survivors include a daughter, Erika French of the Town of Tonawanda, and two grandsons.

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