Ann Marie O’Day, among first female Navy Seabees - The Buffalo News
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Ann Marie O’Day, among first female Navy Seabees

July 29, 1938 – Aug. 30, 2013

Ann Marie O’Day, of Cheektowaga, who was one of the first women to become a Navy Seabee, died Friday in HighPointe on Michigan nursing home after a lengthy illness. She was 75.

Born in Buffalo, she attended Our Mother of Divine Grace School in Cheektowaga and was a 1956 graduate of Bishop McMahon High School.

Miss O’Day worked for General Motors for 32 years, first as a switchboard operator at the Chevrolet plant in the Town of Tonawanda, then as a secretary in the Buffalo zone office. When that office closed, she transferred to the zone office in Syracuse for two years, then returned to become secretary to the plant manager at Harrison Radiator Corp. in Lockport. She retired in 1988.

She joined the Naval Reserve in 1963, was a Navy Cadet leader and became a Seabee after the chief of naval operations announced in 1972 that female naval personnel would be granted entry into all Navy ratings. She retired in 1992 as a chief warrant officer.

Active in Island X-5, U.S. Navy Seabee Veterans of America, she served as recording secretary and helped arrange many conventions and social events.

Elected in 1996 as the national organization’s first publications chairwoman, she also was editor of the national organization’s quarterly publication, CAN DO.

She traveled extensively around the world and visited 48 of the 50 states. For many years, she attended the Kentucky Derby.

A Depew resident until about 10 years ago, she lived in Clarence for several years before moving to Cheektowaga.

Survivors include three sisters, Patricia Mika, Judith Cooke and Kathleen Geddes.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today in St. Martha Parish, formerly Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 10 French Road, Depew.

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