BUFFALO, N.Y. — Michael Putich, OFM, 71, a professed Franciscan friar for 51 years and a priest for 46, died Sept. 16 at Roswell Park Cancer Center.
A wake will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19 at Pietszak Funeral Home in Cheektowaga, N.Y., and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20 at St. Martin of Tours Church in Buffalo. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 20 at St. Martin Church. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, will be principal celebrant and Richard Mucowski, OFM, of Wood-Ridge, N.J., will give the homily. Burial will follow at St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany, N.Y.
Born on April 6, 1943 in Lackawanna, N.Y., to Michael and Mary, Michael finished eighth grade at St. Martin’s Grammar School, Buffalo, in 1956. He spent high school and his first two years of college at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., before entering St. Raphael Novitiate, Lafayette, N.J., in 1962.
He professed first vows there the following year, made his solemn profession in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1968 at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington. During his time in formation, he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Bonaventure University in Allegany and a theology degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington.
Except for brief stints in Ohio and Rhode Island, Michael spent his Franciscan life serving in Western New York. After ordination, he began working at Bishop Timon High School, serving in various roles, including director of development, treasurer, instructor and moderator of the Franciscan movement. During that time, he earned a master’s degree in education, with a certification in social studies, from Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y., completing his degree in 1975.
From 1986 to 1989, Michael served as parochial vicar of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Buffalo. In 1990, he earned an MBA from Canisius College, Buffalo and from 1990 to 1993, was assistant to the vice president for business and finance, and an adjunct faculty member at St. Bonaventure University. From 1993 to 1997, he worked at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio. He moved to Providence, R.I., in 1997, where he served as treasurer for St. Francis Chapel.
In 2002, he returned to Western New York and served again at St. Martin of Tours Parish as parochial vicar until 2006. From 2005 to 2009, he assisted the pastoral team at nearby Mercy Hospital. This ministry overlapped with his work as parochial vicar of St. Gregory the Great Parish in Williamsville, N.Y., where he served from 2006 to 2008. From 2009 to 2011, Michael was pastor of St. Clare Parish in Buffalo. In 2011, he began his final assignment as chaplain at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Buffalo.
Michael was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by sisters Dolores Connors of Williamsville, N.Y., Kathleen (Kenneth) Kraft of North Las Vegas, Nev., and brother Thomas Putich of New Jersey, and his nieces and nephews: Therese (Robert) Seward, Paula Connors Gil, Michael (Robin) Connors, DC Wolfe, Kenneth (Amy) Kraft, Elizabeth (James) Brown. He is also survived by many great nieces, great nephews and cousins.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars-Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd St., New York NY 10001.
— Compiled by Carolyn Croke and Maria Hayes