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Katherine Tarbell, League of Women Voters leader Sept. 1, 1921 July 4, 2007

Katherine Tarbell, long active in the League of Women Voters, died Wednesday in her Williamsville home under hospice care. She was 85.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, she graduated from Wellesley College in 1943 before earning her master's degree in public administration from the University of Minnesota in 1949.

In 1944, Mrs. Tarbell worked as a field examiner for the National Labor Relations Board, conducting elections among workers in Cincinnati regarding union representation and investigating cases of alleged unfair labor practices.

She was transferred to Buffalo in 1950, where she met her husband, Theodore Tarbell. They were married in 1952.

Mrs. Tarbell became involved with the League of Women Voters after she resigned from the NLRB to raise a family. She held numerous positions with the League over the past 50 years. Mrs. Tarbell was a founding member and president of the Kenmore League. She also served as vice president of the state League.

Mrs. Tarbell spearheaded the Education Campaign on Urban Sprawl for the Buffalo Niagara League, which was awarded the American Planning Association's local, state, and national Public Education Awards.

She was also the former president of the Girl Scout Council of Buffalo and Erie County.

As a member of North Presbyterian Church of Amherst, Mrs. Tarbell served on the church's personnel committee as well as the national Presbyterian committee, "Task Force on Issues of Vocation and Problems of Work in the United States."

Mrs. Tarbell was an endorsed Democratic candidate for election to the Tonawanda Town Board. She also ran for the Erie County Legislature, and New York State Senate and Assembly.

Mrs. Tarbell also worked for a union of medical residents in Buffalo hospitals and as a labor law researcher for a Buffalo law firm.

Mrs. Tarbell is survived by her husband of 55 years, Theodore H.; a son, James T.; two daughters, Alice and Anne; a sister, Jeanette Winslow; and a brother, Donald Andersen.

"She lived a full and vigorous life," both daughters agreed.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. today in North Presbyterian Church, 300 North Forest Road.


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