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April 14, 1926 – July 2, 2014

Hugh F. Brady, a former Catholic priest who later became an interfaith leader, died Wednesday in his Buffalo home. He was 88.

Mr. Brady made his life’s work one of both building and crossing bridges while also celebrating diversity. He was the founder of the Center for Dialogue and a co-founder of Search for Common Ground Buffalo, an initiative aimed at airing and listening to differing viewpoints in the debate on abortion.

He also was a founding member of the Network of Religious Communities and opened his home to refugees. In the early 1970s, he helped found the organization Bridges to support those who were released from prison.

Born in Akron, Ohio, he attended St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester.

In 1951, he was ordained as a Catholic priest in the Rochester Diocese, where he ministered to parishes for 18 years and served as spiritual director of St. Bernard Seminary.

He earned a master’s in rehabilitation counseling from the University at Buffalo in 1971 and began working for the Erie County Health Department as a drug counselor and later as an administrator with the state Health Department. He retired in 1990.

In 1987, he graduated from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora with a master of divinity degree. And, in 1990, he earned a doctorate in ministry from Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

“He is a good example of someone who left the structure of the priesthood but was a priest to every person he met,” said his wife of 43 years, the former Evelyn McLean.

For his work with many community organizations on issues pertaining to economic and social justice, Mr. Brady was named Erie County Senior Citizen of the Year in 1997. He also was honored by the Catholic Diocese as Catholic Layman of the Year in 2005. Among his many honors, Mr. Brady cherished the 1993 Rabbi Samuel Porrath Award for Interfaith Leadership and Community Service that he received from Buffalo Area Metropolitan Ministries.

His book, “A Spirituality of Being Human,” will be published in November.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Eric H. and Matthew M.; a daughter, Marnie F.; three sisters, Catherine Clark, Evelyn Dangler and Margaret Macsamie; a brother, James, and five grandchildren.

A celebration of life service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Joseph University Parish, 3269 Main St.