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TOLIEN- William J.

William J. Tolien of Hamburg, NY, known affectionately as Bill, passed away on Friday, February 17, 2024, at the age of 88. He was born on December 10, 1935, in the Bronx, New York.

Bill was a man of unwavering dedication and commitment to education and youth throughout his remarkable life journey. After graduating from Spencer, NY, in 1954, he continued his academic pursuits at Ithaca College, earning a Bachelor'sdegree. Bill's fervor for education led him to Belfast, NY, where he shared his knowledge as a devoted teacher of business courses. Continuing his pursuit of knowledge, he earned a Master's degree from Alfred University and later achieved his Doctorate from the University of Buffalo.

Having graduated from Alfred, Bill made Hamburg, NY his home, becoming an integral part of the community in various educational roles. Beginning as a guidance counselor, he ascended to the position of Director of Guidance and, ultimately, the Director of Pupil Personnel Services until his retirement in 1992. In addition to his roles in the local school system, Bill served as an adjunct professor at Canisius College, where he continued to impart his wisdom to future counselors.

Bill's professional achievements were a testament to his passion for education, but his impact reached far beyond the classroom. His warmth and genuine concern for others left an indelible mark on the lives of countless students and colleagues. Bill's legacy is one of wisdom, kindness, and an unparalleled work ethic that inspired all fortunate enough to know him.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Bill had a profound love for animals and nature. Following his retirement, he and his wife, Kathy, embarked on journeys across the country, exploring and appreciating the beauty of the natural world. Later in life, they spent winters in Key West, Florida, creating cherished memories and lasting friendships.

Bill is survived by his beloved wife, Kathleen [Meer] Tolien, his daughter Debra [Tolien] Kendall of Connecticut, his stepsons Eric Cleveland and Todd Cleveland, grandchildren Dr. Megan [Kendall] Khariton and Kelsey [Kendall] Wright, Parker and Jake Cleveland,  and four great-grandchildren who will carry forward the values he instilled in them. Bill is also predeceased by his son, James W. Tolien and mother Patricia.

A memorial service to celebrate Bill's rich and fulfilling life will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2024 from 12-4, at Loomis and Loomis Funeral Home on Main St. in Hamburg. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Hamburg Mutts for Freedom, a cause dear to Bill's heart.

The family is grateful for the outpouring of support and condolences during this difficult time as they remember and honor a man who touched the lives of many.

May he rest in peace.

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Tim Meer
Tim Meer
Mar 02

Loved chatting with Bill at family gatherings. Great person and sounded like an even better educator and human being!☮️🙏🏻


Karen Hipp
Karen Hipp
Feb 22

Beautiful wording. My heartfelt condolences, along with prayers for comfort & healing to his entire family.


Feb 19

A very nice wright up, my sincere condolences to Deb and family, may he rest in peace. Kay Curtin

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