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Eleanor Bennett Brayer, 90, designer, teacher and fraud investigator

May 13, 1928 – May 15, 2018

Eleanor Bennett Brayer, who had a long and varied career as a designer, teacher and Medicaid fraud investigator, died Tuesday in Sisters Hospital after a brief illness. She was 90.

An Auburn native, Mrs. Brayer was the daughter of steel executive and inventor Charles A. Bennett. She was the 1946 salutatorian at Auburn’s East High School and a graduate of Marymount College in Tarrytown, majoring in art and graphic design.

As an apprentice, she designed retail ads for New York City department stores, including B. Altman’s.

Later, she moved to Buffalo and became involved in the Junior League and volunteered at Millard Fillmore Hospital. She joined St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Eggertsville where she was well known for the next 70 years as a teacher and member of its Rosary and Altar Society, Parent Teacher Association and other organizations.

Mrs. Brayer earned a second degree at Rosary Hill College, now Daemen College, in history and social studies, and continued her commitment to Catholic education with teaching stints at St. Benedict’s School, St. James School in Buffalo and St. Peter and Paul School in Williamsville.

Later, she earned advanced certifications from SUNY at Geneseo, Cornell Industrial Management Institute, the Canisius College Public Administration Program and others.

In the early 1970s, Mrs. Brayer joined the Erie County Department of Social Services, spending the majority of her career in the Medicaid Frauds Department.

She received citations from Erie County Executives Edward J. Rutkowski and Dennis T. Gorski for uncovering millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicaid claims, and retired in 1995.

She was active in Republican politics in Erie County as well as the Town of Amherst, and followed her passion for golf at the Country Club of Buffalo.

In 1948, she married road construction contractor Jack Brayer, who died in 1969.

She is survived by two sons, C. Kevin and Mark Brendan, and a daughter, Karen Ann.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered in St. Benedict’s Church, Eggert Road at Main Street, on May 26 at 9:30 a.m.

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