Remembering a generous friend of Catholic Charities and education

by GEORGE RICHERT
Tue, Jan 23rd 2018 09:00 am
Bishop Richard J. Malone gives a reflection during memorial services for Robert `Bob` Wilmers, chief executive officer and chairman of M&T Bank, at Kleinhans Music Hall. Patrick McPartland/Managing Editor
Bishop Richard J. Malone gives a reflection during memorial services for Robert "Bob" Wilmers, chief executive officer and chairman of M&T Bank, at Kleinhans Music Hall. Patrick McPartland/Managing Editor

More than a thousand people turned out at Kleinhans Music Hall on Monday afternoon to celebrate the life of Robert G. Wilmers, longtime CEO and chairman of M&T Bank Corporation. Bishop Richard J. Malone recalled Wilmers as a 'remarkable gentleman' whose personal generosity benefited Catholic education and Catholic Charities.

It was the first time the Western New York community had come together in remembrance since   Wilmers passed away at his home in New York City on December 16 at the age of 83. Bishop Malone said Wilmers displayed a sense of Humanitas, a term the ancient Romans used to describe a person who is confident in his own worth, courteous to others, decent in his social conduct, and active in his role in the community. "Western New York, we all know, is a far better place because of his presence, leadership, benevolence and example," said Bishop Malone.

Not only was Wilmers personally generous to many appeals within the Diocese of Buffalo, the M&T Charitable Foundation is a major supporter of Catholic Charities and Catholic education. Aside from funding, M&T contributes thousands of hours annually to numerous advisory boards for the diocese including Catholic schools, parishes, Christ the King Seminary, Catholic Charities and many social services organizations. 

"Bob lead by example and didn't ask of employees what he didn't do himself," said Richard Suchan, executive director of the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, who had worked for M&T Bank for 18 years. "During my time there, it was quite evident that Bob truly believed that we weren't just bankers but rather we were stakeholders and caregivers of our city and the region in which we did business and as such, we had the moral, civic and fiduciary responsibility to give back. In doing so, we could help build more vibrant communities which would enable others and provide opportunities for all."

On behalf of the Diocese of Buffalo, Bishop Malone extended heartfelt condolences to Wilmers' family, friends and colleagues. "Because his personal commitment to community engagement is so deeply engrained in M&T's culture, our gratitude to him extends to his beloved M&T family as well," said Bishop Malone. "Thank you M&T friends, for all the ways you give back by your commitment to so many worthy and much needed initiatives in our Western New York community. You, in a very special way will keep Bob's legacy and memory alive.

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