SILSBY - Robert W. The retired history department chairman at Kenmore West High School, died Saturday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital, following a short illness. The Kenmore resident was 91. Born in Lockport, NY on April 9, 1921 son of the late Charles Warren Silsby and Ada (Swift) Silsby. Dr. Silsby attended Middleport Public Schools graduating from Middleport High School as Valedictorian in 1939. He received his Bachelor's Degree in 1943 Summa Cum Laude, and his Master's Degree in 1948 from Hobart College. He was awarded his P. H. D in History from Cornell University in 1958. Dr. Silsby was a member of Phi Beta Kapa. He was commissioned in the United States Navy serving in the Mediterranean from 1944 to 1946. After his military discharge, he taught History at Hobart College 1946 to 1952, The Parks School of Buffalo 1952 & 1953, West Seneca Central School 1953 & 1954, and Kenmore West High School 1954 to 1990. In addition, during his tenure at Kenmore West, he was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Buffalo. Dr. Silsby's tenure at Kenmore West was highlighted by the introduction of Social Studies subjects Psychology, Philosophy and Economics. He supervised one of the largest Social Studies Departments in New York State. Dr. Silsby authored a History of the Town of Tonawanda, Settlement to Suburb; 1607-1986, at the age of 70. He also authored a number of book reviews and pamphlets. For a number of years, he was also a chief researcher for the Seneca Indian Nation. He provided expert testimony regarding land claims. He was President of the Lake Erie Council of Social Studies and the New York State Council of Social Studies. He was chief Grievance Officer of the Kenton Teachers Association. Also a member of the National Council of Social Studies. He received the outstanding Teachers Award from the University of Chicago in 1983. He was awarded the highest honor of the Social Studies Council of the Niagara Frontier in 1988. For more than 20 years he and his wife Katherine, were volunteers at the American Red Cross, He was a lifelong blood donor and a volunteer with the Kenton Historical Society, assisting in the development of the local history museum. Dr. Silsby and his wife traveled extensively abroad. They were lovers of the outdoors. Many of their vacations were spent camping and exploring nature. They expressed their love of music be being season ticket holders for the Buffalo Philharmonic. After his retirement, he was inducted into the "Corridor of Honor" at Kenmore West. He was predeceased in May by his wife of 69 years, the former Katherine Irene White and a brother John Silsby. He is survived by his four children John (Robin) Silsby of Connecticut, Mary (Sam) Vitello of Lockport, Susan Hedges of Middleport and Kenmore and Charles (Geneva) Silsby of Lockport, 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Friends may call Thursday from 7 PM to 9 PM at the BATES, WALLACE & HEATH FUNERAL HOME, 38 State St., Middleport where funeral services will be held Friday at 11:00 AM. Burial will be in Hartland Central Cemetery. Memorials to the American Red Cross would be appreciated by the Silsby family. A Memorial service is being planned in the near future in the Kenmore area. Visit www.bateswallace.com to sign guest register.
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Published in the Buffalo News on June 20, 2012