Feb. 4, 1940 – July 24, 2017
As a tireless volunteer, Mary Ruth Haberman helped Buffalo's homeless, AIDS and cancer patients.
And she helped even more people during in her career as a neurological technician.
The longtime Eggertsville resident died Monday in Erie County Medical Center from injuries suffered in an auto accident Sunday evening near Gasport. She was 77.
The car-truck crash at the intersection of Quaker and Ridge roads also claimed the lives of her sister-in-law, Margaret Haberman Hammerl, 82, who was driving, and Andrew Hammerl, 84, her husband. They were returning from a visit to a family cottage in Niagara County.
Mrs. Haberman and her husband of 55 years, Arthur L., a business executive, were volunteers for more than 25 years at Little Portion Friary, a homeless shelter, where she prepared meals and they both helped raise more than $100,000 to repair the kitchen and roof. They also both volunteered at the Buffalo AIDS Hospice.
She was a charter member of the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network of Western New York, assisting AIDS patients unable to leave their homes. She also visited patients regularly in the hospice unit at Buffalo General Hospital.
As an American Cancer Society volunteer, she developed the Chemo-Coach program and was a coordinator for a major breast cancer research study. She received the American Cancer Society’s Outstanding Service Award.
“I think she had a very strong belief that service was essential to her faith,” her son Rick says.
A dedicated Catholic, the former Mary Ruth Leberer grew up in her faith.
Born in Buffalo, she lived on Highgate Avenue in the University Heights neighborhood as a girl, attended Stella Niagara elementary school and was a 1957 graduate of Sacred Heart Academy. She majored in medical records at Rosary Hill College, now Daemen College, and earned a bachelor of science degree in 1961.
After marrying and raising two children, Mrs. Haberman took a position as a clinician in the neurology department at the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Trained there and at the renowned Vascular Center in Seattle, Wash., as a neurosonologist, she was the first medical professional in Buffalo qualified to perform the Transcranial Doppler test to measure blood flow through the brain to assist vascular surgery and to detect neurological damage.
In 1990, she became a neurosonographer at Buffalo General Hospital, where she specialized in diagnosing neurological disorders in premature infants.
She was also active as a volunteer in Sacred Heart Academy Parents Guild and Alumni Association and served on the golf committee, setting up golf fundraisers for more than 20 years.
Daemen College honored her as a Distinguished Alumna in 2011. She received the Christus Super Omnia award from Sacred Heart Academy in 2015. She also received the Diocese of Buffalo Pro Vitae and the Guild of Saint Apollonia service awards.
She was a parishioner at SS. Peter and Paul Church and St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church.
Her husband died Feb. 21.
Survivors include a daughter, Dr. Patricia A., a dentist in Eggertsville; a son, Rick A., an attorney in Detroit; and a brother, James Leberer.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church, 157 Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga.