BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Western New Yorkers continue to remember the life of Ralph Wilson Junior. The man who brought the Bills to Buffalo died Tuesday at the age of 95. His legacy stretched well beyond the football field.
Wilson donated millions to support cancer treatment and end of life care centers, at the time he did it without any media attention. But those who knew say he made a huge difference in so many peoples lives.
He shared part of his fortune with two organizations that help so many people, Hospice Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Candace Johnson, of Roswell Park, told News 4 that Ralph Wilson donated more than $11 million to national medical research organizations. That included almost $3 million to Roswell. Wilson and his wife Mary also gave money to Hospice Buffalo.
“He did this without a lot of recognition, many people didn’t even know about this foundation,” said Johnson.
Hospice Foundation of Western New York President Patrick Flynn said, “He cared about the people in this community, and by recognizing the the work that’s done here at Hospice, he felt a great connection and something he could do that could be very, very meaningful.”
In September 2007, Wilson said, “To care for those whose luck fails in life I think is the responsibility for those who can do it.”
A lot of Wilson’s charitable donations were because of his desire to help the men who played for him. He had a lot of interest in spinal injury and nervous system damage, which are related to a lot of football injuries.