Oct. 5, 1928 – Dec. 19, 2013

Joan Ruth Uschold, a longtime pastoral care volunteer at Buffalo General Hospital, died Dec. 19 in Amherst after a long illness. She was 85.

Born Joan Ruth Schwartz in Buffalo, she lived in Western New York her entire lifetime, spending 55 years in the same house in Tonawanda where she and her husband raised their nine children.

She was a 1946 graduate of Kensington High School and was certified as a chaplain in 1986 by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. In 1996, after eight years of part-time study, she graduated summa cum laude from Canisius College with a bachelor’s degree in theology and religious studies.

According to an article in The Buffalo News at the time, she said she wanted more formal education to help her in her pastoral work, mostly conducted with patients with mental health issues at Buffalo General Hospital over 27 years.

An active member of St. Christopher Catholic Church in Tonawanda, Mrs. Uschold helped develop several outreach programs, including coordinating visitation volunteers and starting the Grandparent Program, in which a children’s class “adopts” an older person without family nearby. She also taught religious education classes at the church in the 1970s.

In 1951, she married Richard L. Uschold, who became a professor at Canisius College, and she was involved with the school’s Faculty Wives Program for decades.

The couple spent many vacations camping with their growing family, and Mrs. Uschold was known for her enthusiasm for the outdoors, enjoying hiking, canoeing and bicycling as well as the power of nature and the drama of storms and Buffalo winters.

The couple also enjoyed traveling, often to visit their children, although a highlight was a trip to Jerusalem, which she considered her spiritual home.

Survivors include her husband; four daughters, Joanne Kenyon, Suzanne Uschold, Nancy Uschold and Jennifer DeLorenzo; five sons, Richard J., Michael, Raymond, James and Robert; a sister, Norma Bakert; a brother, Eugene Schwartz; and 14 grandchildren.

A funeral service was held Saturday.