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FORMER ROSWELL PARK RESEARCHER, WIFE FOUND SHOT TO DEATH

Florida authorities have neither a motive nor suspects in the shooting deaths of a retired Roswell Park Cancer Institute researcher and his wife.

Dr. Leon Stutzman, 66, and his wife, Kathleen, 54, were found dead in their Sarasota home Sunday afternoon.

Stutzman, associate chief cancer research clinician at Roswell Park, worked at the hospital from 1957 to 1979. Mrs. Stutzman was a nurse at Roswell Park from 1975 to 1980, according to hospital spokesman Kevin Craig.

The bodies of the Stutzmans were discovered at 2:21 p.m. Sunday by a neighbor who became concerned because he had not seen the couple for several days. The Sarasota Sheriff's Department said several newspapers had been stacked in a carrier box outside the home.

Stutzman had been shot twice in the face, once in the back and once in the arm. He was found lying face down in the living room. Mrs. Stutzman was shot in the side of the head and was found in a hallway several feet from an unlocked door.

"That's all we have to go on," said Deputy Chuck Lesaltato, public information officer for the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's deputies are trying to determine the time of the deaths and are waiting for results from autopsies, he said.

The home is in a residential area about five miles east of Interstate 75, Lesaltato said. Homes in the area are on wooded lots of one to five acres. The Stutzmans had owned the house since 1983.

"There's not much to go on," Lesaltato said. "Nothing was disturbed as far as we know."

The home had been broken into twice, once in January 1984, when it was ransacked and jewelry was taken, and once in July 1988, when the front door was kicked in while the Stutzmans were on vacation, Lesaltato said.

The Stutzmans had been married just five or six years, said Dr. Edward J. Sarcione, who had known Stutzman for some 30 years and had visited the couple in Florida two years ago with his wife, Dolores. "He and I were in the (Roswell Park) department of medicine together," said Sarcione, who is principal cancer researcher in experimental biology at Roswell Park. "He was primarily a clinician, an oncologist . . . and he was considered certainly one of the best clinicians in the department of medicine.

"He had a great devotion to the patient," Sarcione continued. "He had a reputation as a diagnostician. He was able to diagnose patients very readily and was very clever at that."

Dr. C. William Aungst, who worked with Stutzman for nearly 20 years, said: "He was a very nice person. He was an excellent physician."

Aungst, an oncologist who recently retired as director of the screening clinic at Roswell Park, said Stutzman had published many papers and was a member of Acute Leukemia Group B, a national committee that helped write the protocol for new cancer treatments. He dealt mainly with patients suffering from lymphomas and chronic leukemia.

"That was during an era when they were really making great strides with those diseases," Aungst said.

Stutzman became director of oncology at Royal Victoria Hospital and a professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal in 1979. He moved to Florida a few years later.

Aungst and other friends recalled that Stutzman was a good tennis player. Mrs. Stutzman enjoyed gardening and boating, said one of her friends, Mrs. Sarcione of Hamburg.

"They were just a great couple," she said.

"It's a pity," her husband said. "He had looked forward to this retirement. He was an avid outdoorsman. He loved to play tennis. He played tennis every day. He and Kathy went camping out in the country. He had a pool and he loved to swim. Certainly, he kept himself busy."

Sarcione added: "Someone must have caught him unawares because he was in very excellent physical condition. He was lean and strong. He didn't have an ounce of fat on him."

He said the Stutzmans had planned to come to Western New York this summer and stay with him and his wife.

Mrs. Stutzman is survived by two sons, Gregory and Andrew Schrantz, and Stutzman is survived by a son, Carl, and a daughter, Karen.

news Staff Reporter Carolyn Raeke contributed to this report.

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