Nov. 11, 1924 – April 18, 2014
Mary Louise Brady, whose four-and-a half decades as music librarian for WEBR and later WNED Radio earned her a place in the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, died Friday in Elderwood at Amherst under the care of Hospice Buffalo.
She was 89 and, except for the past 15 months as a resident of Elderwood at Cheektowaga, had lived her entire life in Buffalo – in the Burbank Terrace home on the outskirts of Delaware Park that her father had built in 1918.
A lover of music and the spoken word, Ms. Brady started her long career in radio in 1946, when she joined WEBR as a switchboard operator. She soon began helping the station’s record librarian as well.
Within the year, the music librarian’s job was hers – one that, she remembered when honored by the Buffalo Broadcasters in 2010, saw her pulling “half-hour segments of music by artists like Guy Lombardo or Sammy Kaye. We also had a subscription service and took afternoon shows from the Mutual Network.”
The work quickly grew more complicated – with Ms. Brady also providing music for WBEN-AM news, the station’s disc jockeys and other local shows including Bob Wells’ Hi-Teen Club (precursor of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand). She programmed music as well on the station’s FM side, and – after Western New York Public Broadcasting purchased the WEBR signal – also helped develop a classical music library for WNED-FM.
When Ms. Brady was inducted, four years ago, into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, she was honored for a career that, the Hall of Fame organizers noted, “spanned the end of the fabled Golden Age of Radio through the transition to easy listening and contemporary.”
Over the years, Ms. Brady recalled recently, she met most of the country’s music promoters, and many of the vocalists and other stars.
“I loved my job,” she said. “I would have paid to do it.”
Born in Buffalo, the youngest of five children of prominent local lumberman Andrew J. Brady Jr. and Catherine Clifford Brady, Ms. Brady was a graduate of both Mount St. Joseph Elementary School and Academy. She received a bachelor of arts degree in French from D’Youville College in May of 1945 – only days after V-E Day.
Before going to WEBR Radio, Ms. Brady worked briefly at what was then the Buffalo Municipal (now Buffalo Niagara International) Airport.
A traveler throughout her adult life, she visited Europe five times, once sailing on the Queen Mary. After her retirement, in 1990, she kept up her radio ties, volunteering and answering phones during WNED-AM and FM membership drives.
She also continued to attend performances of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Irish Classical Theatre, and the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
Ms. Brady’s late siblings were also well known: the Rev. Andrew J. Brady, a Jesuit who helped found LeMoyne College; Catherine Finnegan, a professor of psychology; John Clifford Brady, an attorney with the law firm of McKenna, Brady and Levi; and Vincent De Paul Brady, a physicist who worked in the aerospace industry.
Ms. Brady is also survived by her sister-in-law, Ruth M. Sykes Brady.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 263 Claremont Ave., Town of Tonawanda.