Clifford Whitman

The aging services network of Western New York lost a pioneer and innovator in the field of aging with the loss of Clifford Whitman.  Clifford E. Whitman, died on July 28, 2015 at the age of 80.

Cliff Whitman earned his Master of Social Work from Syracuse University and served as Erie County’s first Commissioner on Aging from 1971-1988.  During his tenure as Commissioner, Cliff helped lay the foundation for countless critical services to older adults such as congregate dining, Going Places transportation, home-delivered meals, case management, adult protective services, legal assistance, and many other community-based services that helped seniors maintain their independence.

In the early 1980s, Cliff worked with Dr. Evan Calkins and other aging advocates to develop the framework and mission of the Network in Aging of WNY, Inc. and he was elected as the organization’s third president.  In 1993, the Network in Aging presented Cliff with the Dr. Evan Calkins Meritorious Service Award.

Over the years, Cliff earned the distinction of being a strong advocate for the elderly and served on many local boards including Legal Services for the Elderly (now Center for Elder Law & Justice) which presented him with their Vision Award in 2006.  He was recognized nationally and elected president of the Advisory Committee of the Columbia University Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology.  Following his years of service as Commissioner of Senior Services, Cliff served as Executive Director of a local not for profit, Concerned Ecumenical Ministry from 1989-1995 and following that he became the Director of the Bristol Home Assisted Living facility.

Cliff’s passion for serving the elderly did not diminish in his later years.  During his semiretirement, he worked as a part-time social worker for Amherst Meals on Wheels and enjoyed serving as a field supervisor for students pursuing their Master of Social Work.  His passion for community services also continued as he devoted countless hours as a board member and grounds manager for his beloved Graycliff Conversancy.

For over 45 years, Cliff made an indelible mark on the field of aging and long-term care and the Network in Aging is proud to recognize his lifetime of achievements.

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