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William M. Putney, 93, former director of nursing at Gowanda Psychiatric Center

April 29, 1926 – May 3, 2018

William M. Putney, a former director of nursing at Gowanda Psychiatric Center and a Perrysburg village justice, died Friday in his home in Eden. He was 93.

Born in Waddington, on the St. Lawrence River, he enlisted in the Army during World War II and, following his discharge, attended the Nuremburg trials in Germany.

Returning from service, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Canton State Agricultural and Technical Institute, now SUNY Canton, and worked as a chemist in the New York City area.

After Mr. Putney came to Western New York, he worked at first for the U.S. Postal Service in Buffalo.

He earned an associate degree in nursing from Jamestown Community College in 1968, then completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University at Buffalo in 1970 and a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing from UB in 1972. He became a registered nurse in 1970.

At the Gowanda Psychiatric Center, he served at every nursing level from attendant to staff nurse, head nurse, treatment team leader, unit chief, chief of service and director of nursing.

He established the Gowanda Psychiatric Center’s first day treatment facility in Dunkirk, and his advocacy for improved quality of life for patients led to the establishment of co-ed wards for the mentally ill.

He was nominated for New York State’s Nurse of Distinction Award in 1990.

He served on the board of directors of the Lake Shore Hospital Foundation.

He also served from 1979 to 1987 as Perrysburg village justice and was a member of the New York State Magistrates Association.

In Eden, he ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary for town justice in 1989. He served for three years on the Board of Assessment Review and was defeated in races for town assessor in 1993 and the Town Board in 1997.

His wife of 35 years, the former Carmella Tedesco, died in 1979. He was remarried to the former Nancy Parkin, whom he met at the psychiatric center.

He and Nancy were active in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Gowanda, where he was a Eucharistic minister and she was a religious education teacher for 25 years.

In addition to his wife, survivors include three sons, Robert Putney, Alan Parkin and Gregory Parkin; nine daughters, Cheryl Rathburn, Patricia Ferretti, Mary Edmonds, Debra Curet, Carol Putney, Lori Montgomery, Sandra Tebo, Denise Bigham and Judith Ciprich; a sister, Electa Burwell; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 7, in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, East Main Street and Erie Avenue, Gowanda.

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