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William J. Shoemaker, 78, banker and business executive

Feb. 8, 1940 – Feb. 19, 2018

William Jan Shoemaker, of Amherst, a banker and business executive, died Feb. 19 in Leesburg Regional Medical Center, Leesburg, Fla., after a lengthy illness. He was 78.

Born in Buffalo, he enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Bennett High School in 1957 and was an electronics technician on cruisers and destroyers in the Atlantic Fleet, serving last on the destroyer USS Forest Sherman.

He joined Marine Midland Bank in 1961 and applied his electronics training to his work as a computer operator. He earned promotions into management positions and in the late 1980s became vice president for retail operations, opening new bank branches in Canada and throughout the Northeast. He retired from the bank in 1994.

He returned from retirement in 1996 to become president of operations for Sigma Systems in Amherst, which did computer mapping of infrastructure for municipalities. He retired there in 2003.

His father, William G., an attorney, was a life member of the Buffalo Canoe Club and secured the club’s land in Point Abino, Ont. Mr. Shoemaker inherited his father’s love of the water and was an avid sailboat racer, competing in the Lightning and Shark classes.

He also became a life member of the Buffalo Canoe Club, serving as treasurer and a member of the board of directors. He also served on committees during national and world regattas.

A Town of Tonawanda resident before moving to Amherst in 2000, he took part in golf, horseshoe, dart and bowling leagues and enjoyed traveling in the Southern states, Europe and the Caribbean.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, the former Diane Haker, whom he met while she was a teller at Marine Midland; two sons, Mark E. and Dean G.; two sisters, Jane Shoemaker Storm and Gretchen Shoemaker Diefenbach; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. June 2 in Holloway Memorial Chapel, 1025 Point Abino Road South, Ridgeway, Ont.

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