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Caroline H. Buerk

July 19, 2022

Visitation: TUESDAY: 2-4 PM & 7-9 PM at the DIETRICH FUNERAL HOME INC., 2480 Kensington Ave, Amherst
Service: WEDNESDAY: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 AM by St. Mark Church 401 Woodward Ave, Buffalo BUERK – Caroline (nee Ernst)
March 11, 2022, beloved wife of the
late Richard Buerk; loving mother
of Eva Hassett, William (Virginia)
Hassett, Joseph (Elizabeth) Hassett,
Ellen Hassett, Elizabeth (Ted) Schmidt
and Caroline (Robert) Roeder; dear
grandmother of Madeleine, Benjamin,
Elyse, Joseph, Nicholas, Katherine
Hassett, Adam, Louisa, John Huston,
and Ian Roeder; dear sister-in-law of
Linda Matt; also survived by nieces and
nephews. Family and friends may call
Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM at THE
2480 Kensington Ave., Amherst. A Mass
of Christian Burial will be celebrated
Wednesday at 9:30 AM at St. Mark
Church, 401 Woodward Ave., Buffalo
(please assemble at church). Flowers
are gratefully declined. Memorials may
be made to Daemen College or the
Franciscan Sisters of Stella Niagara.
Please share online condolences at

Caroline Hassett Buerk spent half her long life serving the college she attended, the college she loved, and in the process she helped remake it.

"She was really instrumental in helping lead the college into the future," said Daemen College President Gary Olson. "She was a tremendous advocate for the college and a dear friend to the Sisters of St. Francis," who founded Daemen. "The college saw substantial growth and momentum during her long tenure as a trustee."
Hassett Buerk, the longest-serving board member in Daemen’s history and a prominent Buffalo lawyer, died March 11 after a brief illness. She was 84.
Born in Buffalo, Hassett Buerk was the daughter of the late Joseph J. and Olive Ernst, whose family owned Ernst Steel, at the time one of the area’s largest steel fabricators.
She graduated from Rosary Hill College, now Daemen, in 1959. She joined the college’s board in 1976 – the year the college changed its name to Daemen and became a secular institution – and, according to Olson, played a key role in that transition.
Hassett Buerk went on to serve on the college’s board for 42 years, chairing it from 2003 to 2013.

"You don’t usually have somebody on any board for so long, but she was so important to the development of the college that she was really wanted," Olson said. "She was so dedicated to the school and loved the Sisters of St. Francis as well, so she was the perfect person to lead the college to the new age."
While raising a family and serving on Daemen’s board, she attended the University at Buffalo School of Law, graduating in 1980. She joined the Phillips Lytle law firm later that year and became a partner in 1988, specializing in estate and trust law.
"She joined us as a mature, accomplished person but a relatively new lawyer, and her skills were superior and her judgment was impeccable," said Kenneth A. Manning, a partner at Phillips Lytle. "She really was a moral compass for many of us from the day she walked in the firm, and in the practice, people relied upon her for her judgment, her compassion and her knowledge. She was really an extraordinary law partner."
Her marriage to William D. Hassett, who died in 2000, ended in divorce. She later married Richard K. Buerk, who died in 2004.
A summer resident of Thunder Bay, Ont., Hassett Buerk loved Delaware Park, Thunder Bay Beach, classical music, travel, writing poetry and cooking. And according to those who knew her, Hassett Buerk left a deep impression on her entire extended family.
"She was gracious, strong, fierce, tough, loyal, so funny, and when she laughed her shoulders shook," said her niece, Molly Field, of Springfield, VA. "She taught me about boundaries, women’s strength, perseverance, limits, and to put nutmeg in my lasagna’s ricotta blend."

Hassett Buerk is survived by six children, Eva M. Hassett, Joseph Hassett, Elizabeth Hassett Schmidt, Caroline Hassett Roeder, Ellen Hassett and William Hassett and 10 grandchildren.

A funeral will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mark’s Church, 401 Woodward Ave.


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