Sept. 12, 1936 – July 16, 2016
Helen Haley Brady, an election inspector in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda area for three decades and a fixture within the local alcohol-recovery community since the early 1970s, died July 16 at her Kenmore home under the care of Hospice Buffalo. She was 79.
Born in Buffalo, the former Helen Joanne Haley was a graduate of St. Mark Elementary School and the former Mount St. Joseph Academy. She worked in sorting and billing for the New York Telephone Company before and after her 1958 marriage to John R. Brady, but became a full-time mother after her first child was born.
She joined the local alcohol-recovery community in 1973, in time becoming a mainstay at 12-step meetings across the Buffalo area and into Southern Ontario. She encouraged newcomers with her trademark wit and straightforwardness, explaining the peace sobriety brings with the words, “Life doesn’t get better. We do.”
During the 1980s and early ’90s, she served as a receptionist and secretary at the Buffalo Central Office of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Widely respected as an incisive, often profound, participant in her alcohol recovery program, Mrs. Brady celebrated 43 years of continuous sobriety earlier this year. In April, she was able to attend the 43rd annual spring spiritual weekend with other women of the program from across the Niagara Frontier. She had never missed the event, which was established in her first year of sobriety.
She was an avid follower of politics and loved both classical and pop music and time shared with grandchildren.
Brady was also an usher for many years at cultural events at Kleinhans Music Hall and, in recent times, at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts.
A Kenmore resident and parishioner of St. Paul Catholic Church in Kenmore for the past half-century, Mrs. Brady spent summers for the past 46 years at her second home in Bay Beach, Ont., on the Canadian shore.
Brady was visited in her last days by a steady stream of individuals in alcohol and drug recovery programs wishing to express gratitude for her support and example.
Her husband, a Buffalo police officer, died in 2007.
Survivors include two sons, Patrick L. and Thomas M.; a daughter, Maureen Brady May; a sister, Maureen Summers; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at St. Paul Catholic Church, 33 Victoria Blvd., Kenmore.
Brady donated her body to the Anatomical Gift Program of the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.