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JEFFREY BLOOM, ENERGETIC DIRECTOR OF AMHERST RECREATION, DIES AT 48

Services for Jeffrey M. Bloom, who was instrumental in helping provide Amherst residents with a vast array of recreational opportunities, from more jogging paths on the Ellicott Creek Trailway to ice skating in the Amherst Pepsi Center, will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Amherst Memorial Chapel, 281 Dodge Road, Getzville.

Burial will be in White Chapel Memorial Park, Amherst.

Bloom, 48, Amherst's recreation director for nearly 15 years, died Sunday (Sept. 17, 2000) in DeGraff Memorial Hospital, North Tonawanda, after suffering an epileptic seizure Thursday and falling into a coma.

"Jeff was highly regarded statewide and nationally when it came to recreation," said Amherst Supervisor Susan J. Grelick.

"I highly respected Jeff, and I regarded him as a true friend," Grelick said. "He set a standard that will be difficult to match."

Bloom was born in Cleveland, where he graduated from Brush High School. In 1975, he graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in parks and recreation administration.

In 1977, he was working as a part-time recreation attendant in Cincinnati, where he met his future wife, Theresa.

Newly married, Bloom moved to Fremont, Ohio, where he was recreation director from 1977 to 1983. He then worked as parks and recreation director in Delaware, Ohio, until 1986, when he was hired as Amherst's recreation director.

Whatever new recreation proposal Amherst had in mind -- whether improvements at Bassett Park or a water splash park at Clearfield Recreation Center -- Bloom left his imprint on the project.

"He certainly was one of the hardest-working guys in town, if not the hardest-working," said Amherst Council Member Michael G. McGuire, who worked closely with Bloom on a number of recreational issues.

"Everything that came through the town, recreationwise, he was in on the ground floor," McGuire said.

Bloom, a longtime wrestling official and bicycling enthusiast, was most proud of helping to get the Amherst Pepsi Center built in 1998.

"That was 10 years in the making," said his wife. "When that opened, he was like a proud papa."

Bloom, a board member of the New York State Parks and Recreation Association, as well as a member and a past president of the Niagara Frontier Parks and Recreation Association, kept himself well-versed on recreational issues throughout the nation.

"He was a people person. He had time for everyone, no matter what question they might ask. And if you asked him a question, you got a pretty solid answer," said Richard E. Baldwin, chairman of Amherst's Recreation Commission. "I can't say enough about him. He's really going to be missed."

Surviving, in addition to his wife of 23 years, are a son, Joshua; a daughter, Leah; and three brothers, Barry of Cleveland, Herschel of Eugene, Ore., and Gilbert, of Dennison, Ohio.

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