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Martha Park Koekkoek, a lifelong Western New Yorker and benefactor of numerous local institutions, died Tuesday (Jan. 30, 2001) in her Snyder home. She was 77.

She was a descendant of Mayflower Pilgrims Elder William Brewster and John Howland and the granddaughter of Dr. Roswell Park, the surgeon and early cancer researcher for whom Buffalo's cancer institute is named.

Her father, the late Julian Park, was a well-known educator and scholar at the University of Buffalo.

Her paternal grandfather developed the multidisciplinary study of cancer that became the model for today's comprehensive cancer centers, including Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the nation's first.

He also is remembered as the physician who tried to save President William McKinley's life in 1901 and probably would have had he been in town to perform the surgery immediately after the president was shot.

The former Martha Park was educated at the Park School of Buffalo and also attended Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., before earning bachelor's and master's degrees in social work at UB and working briefly in her field.

"Carrying on in the Park family tradition, she was a benefactor of cultural, educational, historical and scientific institutions of Buffalo and Erie County," said her husband, Byron J., a professor emeritus of modern languages and literature at UB.

Mrs. Koekkoek and her late brother, Roswell Park III of Lyons, established the Julian Park Publication Fund for the Arts and Sciences at UB in memory of their father. UB also has a Julian Park Chair in the Humanities.

Mrs. Koekkoek was a lifelong member of Trinity Episcopal Church. She and her husband of 45 years had a second home in Waverly Beach, Ont.

Besides her husband, she is survived by a son, Peter Mannes Koekkoek of Wayland, Mass., and two grandsons.

Private services will be held. Burial will be in Forest Lawn.


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