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William J. Ragan, retired Erie County prosecutor
Sept. 28, 1933 -- Feb. 9, 2006

William J. Ragan, a retired assistant Erie County district attorney, died unexpectedly Thursday at home of natural causes. He was 72.

The Buffalo native graduated from Canisius High School, then from Canisius College with a bachelor of arts degree in English. He received his law degree from Notre Dame Law School, which he attended on a full scholarship.

From 1958 to 1960, he served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocates Corps in Panama.

After leaving the service, Mr. Ragan worked for the National Labor Relations Board for a year before entering private practice.

In 1968, he was recruited by the Erie County district attorney's office, where he served until 1999. From 1988 to 1991 he was a special district attorney.

In 1991, Buffalo News columnist Ray Hill wrote about a case Mr. Ragan was handling, calling him a "prosector's prosecutor."

"He has no affectations, no flourishes, no displays of emotion," Hill wrote. "But the jury listens and gives its attention. He provides the narrative."

In his free time, Mr. Ragan enjoyed reading, an occasional glass of wine and doting on his three dogs.

His wife of 26 years, the former Sheila Sullivan, died in 1999.

Survivors include a daughter, Moira of Buffalo; two sons, Timothy of Chicago and Brian of Cedar Falls, Iowa; and two sisters, Jean Holl of Orchard Park and Rita Hayes of Lancaster.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Monday in St. Joseph University Church, 3275 Main St. after prayers at 10 in Dengler & Roberts Funeral Home, 2070 Eggert Road, Amherst. Burial will be in Forest Lawn.


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