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Sheila A. Diebold, philanthropist

August 28, 1940 - January 30, 2017

Sheila A. Diebold, whose love of wildlife and art benefitted two leading cultural institutions, died Jan. 30 in Buffalo General Hospital, after a brief illness. She was 76.

Born in New York City, the former Sheila Aldrich attended Chapin School, two blocks from her Manhattan home, where she was a top student and "a terrific athlete," recalled her classmate and lifelong friend, Norma Merrett. "Basketball, volleyball, tennis and swimming - she could outdo us all."

While at Smith College, where she majored in art history and met Charles Diebold III, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student and scion of a Buffalo Banking dynasty. They married shortly after she graduated in 1962, and made their homes in Buffalo and Bay Beach, Ont. Her husband, who became the third Charles Diebold to serve as president of Western Savings Bank, drowned during a 1985 fishing trip in Ontario.

Mrs. Diebold served on the Buffalo Zoological Society board of directors from 1976 through 1994, and had a hand in organizing the zoo's annual Catillion fundraiser and various capital campaigns. She also was involved with the women's board, and traveled to Africa and India on zoo-sponsored wildlife tours.

When she wasn't helping the zoo, Mrs. Diebold, an art collector, also volunteered at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, where she developed a lasting friendship with Director Douglas G. Schultz. "She loved both institutions dearly," he said.

She was crossword aficianado whose home was stacked with puzzle books, said her longtime neighbor and caregiver, Dr. John Butsch.

A private memorial service is planned.

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