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Dr. Paul R. Dommermuth, 76, of Dunkirk, New York, formerly of Duryea, Pa. professor emeritus of sociology at SUNY Fredonia, died November 18, 2011, following a brief illness.


He was born Dec. 18, 1935, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the adopted son of the late Bertha Dommermuth.


Paul, along with his mother and aunt Ruth Shippey, both of whom were missionaries, escaped from his birthplace during the Italian invasion which began in 1936. He was then brought to Avoca, Pa., where his mother and aunt Ruth established the Full Gospel Church.


Paul attended grade school and high school in Duryea and was a member of the Duryea High School graduating class of 1953.


Dr. Dommermuth received his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and psychology from Houghton College in 1958, followed by his Master of Arts degrees in sociology from the University of Rochester and Rutgers University. His Ph.D. was earned at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968 with a dissertation on Re-tail Pharmacy: Professional Contingencies in Business Settings.


He was a trainee at the National Institute of Mental Health in a joint pro-gram of social research and psychology at UNC Chapel Hill. He also served as an assistant professor in the sociology department of the University of Florida at Coral Gables, research assistant professor in the division of sociology, department of psychiatry, at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, and from 1969 until 1974, he was an associate professor in the Fredonia State University College sociology department. He served as a full professor from 1974 until his retirement in January 2000.


The list of his special awards, publications, scholarly papers and other academic and professional activities runs to more than six typed pages.


In June 1988, Dr. Dommermuth was appointed Chautauqua County Mental Health Commissioner by Chautauqua County Executive John A. Glenzer, a position he held until December 1995. At the time of his appointment, he was serving on the advisory board of the Chautauqua County Home, was a member of the Community Services Board and chairman of its Mental Health Subcommittee.


Dr. Dommermuth was active with the Salvation Army, serving as a board member and volunteer bell ringer. He also belonged to the NAACP and had participated in marches during the 1960s.


Dr. Dommermuth enjoyed traveling and meeting new people. This led to the many friendships he created around the world. He enjoyed fishing, including trips to Alaska with close friends. A lover of jazz, he took several Jazz Cruises, and also enjoyed watching hockey and foot-ball with friends.


Surviving are his extended group of close friends who became his family; and his former wife, Linda, of Vald, Ga.


A celebration of life memorial gathering led by Gail Wolfe will take place Saturday, May 19, 2012, at 1 p.m. at the First Ward Falcon Club.


Memorials may be made to the Salvation Army; or a mission of your choice.


Arrangements are by the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home.


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