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Dawn Hamilton, long career in public broadcasting; Oct. 22, 1959 -- Jan. 12, 2011

Dawn Hamilton, vice president of foundation and community development for WNED-TV, died Wednesday in her Lancaster home after a battle with breast cancer. She was 51.

The former Dawn Dehlinger attended West Seneca East High School and graduated with honors with a degree in media and communications from Medaille College, where she was class president and editor of the college newspaper.

She spent more than 30 years in public broadcasting, working in a variety of roles. She spent 17 years in news radio, joining WEBR in 1980 as an intern reporter and rising to senior editor of WNED-AM 970.

In 1998, Mrs. Hamilton wrote a proposal to further improve the radio service and was soon offered a new position as WNED's grant writer. That led her to new responsibilities as manager, director and vice president of foundation and community development.

She played a vital role in WNED's capital campaign for digital conversion, which also led to the creation of WNED's ThinkBright and Well TV.

Mrs. Hamilton was active in fundraising for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, particularly through the Ride for Roswell. Through a partnership between Roswell Park and New Era Cap Co. she was chosen to help design a one-of-a-kind cap that represented the spirit of her cancer journey.

She was an active member of Ebenezer United Church of Christ.

She is survived by her husband, Paul; her father, Richard Dehlinger; and a sister, Kim Henderson.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 22 in Ebenezer United Church of Christ, 630 Main St., West Seneca.

[LINVILLE]