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Rev. Lewis R. Bigler, chaplain at Roswell Park

Dec. 1, 1933 – April 22, 2016

The Rev. Lewis R. Bigler, who served several local Presbyterian churches as a minister and was chaplain at Roswell Park Cancer Institute from 1971 until his retirement in 2000, died Friday. He was 82.

A native of Westfield, Rev. Bigler grew up and attended high school in Harborcreek, Pa., where he was an honor student, clarinetist and a champion debater. He studied electrical engineering at Penn State Behrend College in Erie but changed his career choice after one semester. After two years at Behrend, he transferred to Grove City College and prepared to enter seminary.

He graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and was ordained by the Buffalo-Niagara Presbytery (now known as the Presbytery of Western New York) in 1958 and became assistant minister of Central Presbyterian Church in Buffalo. In 1963 he became director of radio and television for the Pittsburgh Council of Churches and also served as interim pastor at several churches in western Pennsylvania.

Rev. Bigler returned to Buffalo in the late 1960s and completed master’s degrees in epidemiology at the University at Buffalo and psychology and religion at Canisius College. He attained the rank of fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

For 38 years he served as an interim minister at churches in the Presbytery of Western New York while building a private practice in mental health counseling, pastoral counseling and family therapy and serving at Roswell Park.

He is survived by his wife, the former Sylvia Shay; a sister, Jeannette Comstock; two sons, Brian C. and Randall L.; a daughter, Julie Wakefield; and four grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at North Presbyterian Church, 300 North Forest Road, Williamsville.

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