Samuel E. Loliger, NCCC professor, gay rights activist - The Buffalo News

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Samuel E. Loliger, NCCC professor, gay rights activist

Sept. 6, 1937 – Jan. 2, 2014

Samuel E. Loliger, a sociology professor at Niagara County Community College for 35 years who was active in the fight for gay rights, died Thursday in Hospice Wells House at Beechwood Continuing Care, Getzville, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 76.

Mr. Loliger, a Kenmore resident, was born in Canton, Ohio, and earned his bachelor’s degree at Heidelberg College. He earned a master’s degree in education from the University at Buffalo.

He taught in a junior high school in Amherst, Ohio, for a short time before returning to Western New York and teaching at Oakfield-Alabama High School for about four years.

He was hired in 1964 at NCCC, where he taught courses in social problems, industrial relations, marriage and family, and sex roles.

Mr. Loliger was an active member of Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ, Grand Island, and took part in numerous national programs in that denomination.

He was a conference delegate to the UCC’s General Synods of 1983 and 1985, and served on numerous committees over the years, including the Coordinating Council for UCC’s Gay Caucus.

From 1984 to 1997, Mr. Loliger was one of the coordinators of the UCC Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Concerns. During his tenure, the coalition’s name was changed to the Coalition for LGBT Concerns.

At NCCC, Mr. Loliger was co-convener of the Affirmative Action Council and served as adviser to the LGBT student and staff group. He also advised the college group called MASH, for Make Aware and Serve the Handicapped.

Fair housing also was a concern of Mr. Loliger’s. At the time of his death, he was a board member of Housing Opportunities Made Equal, a position he had held for many years. In the late 1980s, he served as vice chairman of the state Division of Human Rights’ Advisory Board for the Buffalo region.

Mr. Loliger also served as president of OperaBuffs of Western New York from 2009 to 2013.

Survivors include his husband, Donald M. Behr, whom he married Oct. 1, 2012, after a relationship dating back to 1976.

Other survivors include three sons, Brian, Jeffrey and Scott; two stepchildren, Susan Langone and Peter Behr; two sisters, Ruth Volk and Martha Alexander; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. next Sunday in Unitarian Universalist Church, 695 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.

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