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Aug. 18, 1946 – Dec. 11, 2013

Cheryle Leslie Gilmore, a longtime social worker who founded an innovative play-therapy program, died Wednesday in Sisters Hospital after a long illness. She was 67.

Ms. Gilmore was born in Schenectady and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s of social work degree from the University at Buffalo.

She was a social worker for the Buffalo Board of Education for 22 years before her retirement in 2010. During this period, she founded and coordinated an innovative play-therapy program that helped children with mild to moderate behavior issues after receiving a grant in 1994.

Before that, Ms. Gilmore was a public assistance caseworker with Erie County Department of Social Services. She held several positions at Catholic Charities of Buffalo, including as a social worker in the child care unit; worked as a training specialist for Crisis Services and as a program director at Parents Anonymous; and was clinical coordinator at Our Lady of Victory Infant Home.

Ms. Gilmore was also an adjunct faculty member at UB, serving as a field educator for graduate and undergraduate social work students.

She was a member of New York State United Teachers, the National Education Association, the Association for Play Therapy, the National Association of Social Workers, the Parkside Community Association, the Buffalo Zoological Gardens, the Friends of Tifft and Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Survivors include her husband, Peter Bollenbach; a daughter, Caitlin Bollenbach; and her mother, Dorothy Gilmore.

A celebration of Ms. Gilmore’s life will be held from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 4 in Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave.