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MICHAEL J. CROTTY, FIRST DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN'S ZOO

Michael J. Crotty, 57, of West Hollywood, Calif., the first director of the Buffalo Children's Zoo, died Wednesday (Oct. 8, 1997) at his sister's home in Santa Monica, Calif., after a six-month battle with lung cancer.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Hamburg Central High School and Canisius College, where he earned a degree in biology.

In 1961, he was inducted into the Army and spent the majority of his time at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, where he specialized in biological research until 1963.

After the Army, he returned to Buffalo and became the first director of the Children's Zoo, a position he held until 1970 when he left to become the assistant director of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo.

In 1972, Crotty was hired by the Los Angeles Zoo as curator of mammals and later was promoted to curator of records for the entire zoo. He worked at the L.A. Zoo until last April when his illness prevented him from working.

He was a member of numerous zoo committees and endangered species committees throughout the United States. He also wrote several papers on American zoos' involvement in the preservation of endangered species.

His late father, Joseph F., was the principal of Burgard Vocational High School during the 1950s and 1960s.

Surviving is his sister, Karen Patricia of Santa Monica.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Nativity of Our Lord Church, 26 Thorn Ave., Orchard Park, after prayers at 8:45 a.m. in the Nightengale Funeral Home, 1884 South Park Ave. Interment will follow in Nativity Cemetery, Orchard Park.[ulrch]

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