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Loretta G. Kercher, Navy veteran, VA employee

July 23, 1917 – June 20, 2013

Loretta G. Kercher, a retired Navy Reserve lieutenant and World War II veteran, died in Canterbury Woods, Amherst. She was 95.

Miss Kercher, who was born in Buffalo, attended Mount St. Joseph Academy on a full scholarship and graduated summa cum laude from Nazareth College of Rochester in 1939 with a degree in business. She was a “Top Five Scholar” at the college and taught there in the 1940s.

In 1944, she was commissioned as a WAVE ensign in the Navy and served on active duty until 1946. Miss Kercher continued to serve her country in the Naval Reserve and retired as a lieutenant in 1977.

She was the first woman appointed as a contact representative for the Veterans Administration in 1946 and was later promoted to assistant contact officer, a position she held until 1952.

Miss Kercher then served as the director of volunteers for Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In this position, which she held until retiring in 1981, she developed one of the largest volunteer programs ever at a VA hospital. The program served as a model to VA hospitals nationwide.

An avid gardener, Miss Kercher served as a member of the Amherst Garden Club for more than 50 years.

She also was a member of Nazareth College of Rochester Alumni Association, Kappa Gamma Pi, American Legion, National Association of Retired Federal Employees, Ladies of Charity and the Altar & Rosary Society of St. John Maron Catholic Church.

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