Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dr. Donald Wormer Family Scholarship Fund to help Portville students

Senior students at Portville Central School going into the medical field will now have an additional scholarship opportunity thanks to the Dr. Donald A. Wormer Family Scholarship Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.  
Scholarships from this fund, recently created by the late Dr. Wormer’s wife, Elinor Wormer, will be awarded to Portville Central School (PCS) graduates planning to attend a four- or two-year college in the medical/health care field, which includes, but is not limited to, pre-med, nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, and/or medical research. Applicants will need also to demonstrate academic success and financial need. 
“Mrs. Wormer hopes the fund will inspire the recipients to pursue the medical field and perhaps to even continue to live and practice in the Portville area, as her husband did,” Karen Niemic Buchheit, CRCF executive director said. 
Mrs. Wormer decided to establish the scholarship fund to benefit students in Portville as her husband loved the area and felt the community gave a lot back to him, Mrs. Buchheit said. 
“Portville school administrators, teachers and coaches have always contributed so much, not just in the classroom, but to the community and the well-being of its youth,” Mrs. Wormer said. 
According to his wife, Dr. Wormer was inspired from a young age to become a physician like his father, Dr. Duncan L. Wormer. That dream came true in 1960 when, as a new surgeon, he moved his growing family back to Portville and joined his father’s medical practice. Dr. Donald Wormer’s 29-year medical practice served the people of Portville and surrounding communities from 1960-1989, and was marked by his surgical skill and compassion. 
Mrs. Wormer noted that Portville was the ideal place for him to live, practice medicine, and for him and his wife to raise their four children, Carol, Thomas, Susan and Julie.
Dr. Wormer’s love of the area ran deep, according to his family. The small-town atmosphere allowed him the freedom to roam while providing neighbors who looked out for one another. His days at PCS resulted in many lifelong friends and role models, like his football coach who taught him the importance of playing competitively but also as a team. The band director instilled in Dr. Wormer a lifelong love of classical music, partly through learning the sousaphone. The lessons learned from his Portville educators were ones that he never forgot; they helped guide him throughout his life as a husband, father, surgeon, and member of the Portville community. 
Portville ran so deep in Dr. Wormer’s life that Mrs. Wormer remarked that “…it was made clear to me from the time we first began dating that there was only one place he would practice medicine – Portville,” adding, “I came to love Portville, too!” 
Dr. Wormer graduated from the University of Rochester and the University at Buffalo School of Medicine, completing his internship and residency in general surgery at Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo. He served as chief of surgery at St. Francis Hospital for a time, was on staff at Olean General Hospital, and maintained his own medical practice in Portville before retiring in 1989. 
Mrs. Wormer, the former Elinor A. Bliss, grew up in Wellsville and attended Ohio University where she received a degree in journalism. She and Dr. Wormer met at Cuba Lake. She now lives in Canandaigua. 
Portville students who meet the criteria may apply online for the scholarship through the Foundation’s website. The first award(s) will be made for the class of 2016. The number and amount of the awards may vary from year to year.
Donations to the Dr. Donald A. Wormer Family Scholarship Fund can be made care of the Community Foundation at 120 North Union St., Olean, or online at
Established in 1994, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716)372-4433, email, or visit online at CRCF is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@CattFoundation).