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May 8, 1969 – Feb. 27, 2014

Robert J. Williams, of Amherst, vice president of corporate real estate at M&T Bank and a battalion commander in the New York Army National Guard, died Thursday in Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center after a struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 44.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of City Honors School and SUNY Buffalo State. He earned his law degree from the University at Buffalo in 1997.

Mr. Williams began his career as an attorney at the firm of Bouvier O’Conner, then spent three years as an attorney with Benderson Development Co.

In 2001, he joined M&T Bank as vice president of the corporate real estate department and managed a portfolio of more than 565 leased and owned properties.

He joined the New York Army National Guard in 1996. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007-08 as deputy director of plans and operations for the Army in Kabul.

His military honors included the Legion of Merit.

For the Army National Guard, he was deputy director of plans and operations from 2002 to 2005, director of operations from 2005 to 2007, an executive officer from 2006 to 2007 and director of plans and operations from 2008 to 2011.

In 2011, he became battalion commander for the Second Squadron of the 101st Cavalry with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Survivors include his wife of 21 years, the former Rosanne Coniglio; a son, Robert J. III; his mother and stepfather, Sharon and Charles “Rick” Kilburn; a brother, Clinton; and a sister, Sara Perdue.