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Fraser M. 'Mitch' Mooney, 91, hospital administrator was longtime volunteer firefighter

Fraser M. 'Mitch' Mooney, 91, hospital administrator was longtime volunteer firefighter

Oct. 16, 1928 – April 30, 2020

For Fraser Mitchell Mooney of Snyder, medical care ran in the family.

His father, Dr. Fraser D. Mooney, became director of Buffalo General Hospital at age 30. For a time, Dr. Mooney's oldest son Fraser, known to all as "Mitch," wanted to be a pediatrician. But after earning a master's degree in hospital administration from Yale University, he worked for three decades as an administrator at E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital and later at Erie County Medical Center.

Mr. Mooney also cared for people directly. As a 44-year volunteer firefighter with the Snyder Fire Department, he trained as a paramedic in 1973, and maintained his certification as an Emergency Medical Technician until 2011.

"He was very proud of the fact that he was our oldest EMT and that was Mitch, always willing to help in any way possible," said Paul Griebner, a past chief of the Snyder Fire Department and a current member of its Board of Commissioners.

Mr. Mooney "loved to help people and make a difference in their lives," said his family. "Everything he involved himself in was better for his participation."

Fraser M. “Mitch” Mooney, 91, died April 30 in Harris Hill Nursing Home after contracting Covid-19. He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for several years.

He was the first of four sons and a daughter born to Fraser D. Mooney and Norma DuBois Mooney of Buffalo.

A graduate of Bennett High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo and a master's degree in hospital administration from Yale University.

From 1948 to 1951, he served in Texas as part of the Medical Service Corps of the Army's 174th Infantry. He was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant.

He and Lois Wilson married on June 14, 1952, and moved to Snyder in 1962, where they raised their five children.

Mr. Mooney started at Meyer Memorial Hospital, which became Erie County Medical Center, in 1961 as associate administrator, a post he held until retiring in 1990. Mr. Mooney also served as president of the Western New York Chapter of the American Hospital Administration Association.

He joined the Snyder Fire Department on April 1, 1968, at age 39, and was awarded Life Membership 25 years later in 1993.

He was one of the original class of 42 Snyder paramedics graduated in 1973, and maintained his certification as an Emergency Medical Technician until 2011.

Mr. Mooney served as department secretary from 1969 until 1984, when he became a commissioner, serving in that role until 1998. During those years, the department bought some adjoining land, demolished its aging firehouse and constructed a new one.

He was a member of the Board of Directors from 2001 to 2003. He responded to calls for 44 years, until 2012.

"He was always smiling, reflecting the fact that he was just a plain nice, friendly individual," said Griebner. "He would always ask about members’ families and he was sincere, he truly cared."

Mrs. Mooney died on Sept. 18, 1983. On Nov. 22, 1984, Mr. Mooney married Lucile K. "Sissy" Vahldieck.

At fire department events, he and his wife "always enjoyed a nice dance on the dance floor – they were great slow dancers," said Past Chief Tom Merrill, a commissioner. "He was a very friendly man, and also extremely intelligent."

In the 2000s, he served on the Board of Directors of the Schofield Nursing Home.

A member of Christ United Methodist Church for 57 years, he sang in the choir and served on the finance and other committees. He also sang with the Amherst Male Glee Club and the Shrine Chanters.

In his younger days, Mr. Mooney trained Labrador retrievers and participated in dog shows throughout New York state.

After his retirement, he and his wife spent winters in Destin, Fla., where he was an active golfer and enjoyed the beach.

Besides his wife, Lucile K. Vahldieck Mooney, he is survived by three sons, Scott, Fraser and James; two daughters, Kimberley Wroblewski and Jane Nopanen; two brothers, Robert and Thomas; a sister, Charlann Duffy, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Memorial visitation and a celebration of his life will be held at a date to be determined.

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