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In Loving Memory of SAM E. LOLIGER
SEPTEMBER 6, 1937-JANUARY 2, 2014


Sam Loliger was a long-time member, board member, and friend to HOME.  His numerous contributions to the agency are responsible for many of our successes.  We take this opportunity to honor him.

You can make a donation in Sam's honor here.


Sam was born on September 6, 1937 in Canton, Ohio. He was the son of the late Samuel Loliger and Lydia (nee: Witschi). His father was a mill worker and his mother was a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University.  Sam married Joan Pempsell in 1959 and together they had three sons: Brian, Jeffrey and Scott.  Joan passed away in 1994.

Sam graduated from Heidelberg College in 1959 with a major in social studies education.  In 1964, he began teaching at Niagara County Community College.  He earned his master's degree in sociology from the University at Buffalo and subsequently taught sociology courses at Niagara County Community College.  He also co-taught classes in the English department, including a class on nonverbal communication.  Sam retired from Niagara County Community College. 

Sam served as a national coordinator of the United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian & Gay Concerns from 1984-1997. Sam's proudest achievements in Coalition leadership were promoting diversity and inclusiveness in the Coalition, establishing a new relationship with the UCC national offices and helping to develop and inspire the Open and Affirming (ONA) program in the UCC, promoting the welcome and inclusion of LGBT people in all levels of the church. Sam was an active layperson in the UCC at Association, Conference and National levels, and served as chair of the UCC's Affirmative Action Council.  He was elected conference delegate to the 1983 and 1985 General Synods. 

Sam was active in local and regional initiatives for human rights.  He served as co-convener for the Affirmative Action Committee at Niagara County Community College, as well as advisor to the LGBT student/staff group and MASH (Make Aware and Serve the Handicapped).  Locally Sam served on the New York State Division of Human Rights Advisory Board and held leadership positions with HOME. Sam was proud to be an advocate for social justice issues.

Sam began a committed relationship with Donald M. Behr in 1976 and they were married on October 1, 2012. They enjoyed opera, theater, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and classical music.  He served on the board of directors of OperaBuffs of Western New York in various capacities.  Sam loved to read, especially fiction and history, and do crossword puzzles.

Sam was a member of the Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ on Grand Island, and he also attended the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo.