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Raymond W. Buerster, pictorial artist, World War II veteran Jan. 24, 1924 -- March 18, 2010

Raymond W. Buerster of West Seneca, a retired pictorial artist who was a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II, died March 18 in Veteran Affairs Medical Center. He was 86.

Born in Buffalo, Mr. Buerster was an Army private with the 7th Army, 44th Infantry Division, when he was captured in Germany during the Battle of the Bulge. He spent six months as a prisoner before he was liberated by Russian troops.

After the war, Mr. Buerster, who was a talented illustrator, embarked on a career as a pictorial artist. He was a graduate of the Buffalo Art Institute, which he attended for three years under the GI Bill. He was employed with Whitmier & Ferris Advertising, which later became Penn Advertising and was eventually purchased by Lamar Advertising in 1997. He retired in 1990.

"He did the pictures on the billboards, and his partner did the lettering," said his wife of 62 years, the former Mary E. Ring.

Mr. Buerster also painted billboard advertisements used as props for "The Natural," the 1984 Barry Levinson movie, starring Robert Redford, which was filmed in Buffalo. In addition, he painted advertising space on the back of the original scoreboard at Rich Stadium.

Survivors in addition to his wife include three daughters, Frances Wojtaszczyk, Karen Lenda and Mary C. Dunnington; and three sons, Joseph, Nick and Jim.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered on March 23 in St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Orchard Park.

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