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Richard S. Droske, former Buffalo VA director

Sept. 7, 1934 – Dec. 6, 2015

Richard S. Droske, former director of the Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System in Buffalo and Batavia, died Sunday in his home in Fairport. He was 81.

Born in Wilkinsburg, Pa., he was a 1952 graduate of Turtle Creek High School in Turtle Creek, Pa., near Pittsburgh, and served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He was a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering and earned a master’s degree in hospital administration from Wagner College on Staten Island. He joined the Veterans Administration in 1963.

Mr. Droske served as director of the Cleveland Veterans Medical Center and assistant director of veterans hospitals in Syracuse, Vancouver, Wash.; and Allen Park, Mich. He was director of the Castle Point Spinal Cord Injury Hospital in Beacon before becoming director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Buffalo in 1987. He retired in 1998 and moved from East Amherst to Fairport in 2001.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Joann McCarthy; two daughters, Denise Pontillo and Diane Lois; a brother, Ronald; four sisters, Loretta Cole, Isabel Thomas, Marylou Crosby and Ada Sklenar; and four grandchildren.

Services will be private.

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