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Clara A. Tilney, active member of Optimist Club, title searcher

May 27, 1951 – Sept. 17, 2016

Clara Ann Tilney, a title searcher and Optimist Club member who was honored for her volunteer service in the community and beyond, died Saturday in her Lockport home after a lengthy illness. She was 65.

The former Clara Turco was a Lockport High School graduate and earned a degree in secretarial sciences from Bryant & Stratton College. She was employed as a legal secretary, then began a 25-year career as a title searcher, her final position as an executive assistant for Lacey Heavy Equipment Inc.

A charter member of the Barge Canal Optimist Club, she was honored with a life membership in Optimist International, which gave her a special appreciation award in 1989 for her work on the organization’s international convention in Indianapolis. She also received Optimist International Presidential Youth Work and Humanitarian awards in 1999 and 2003.

In 1991, she was the first woman to be designated by the Optimist International Foundation as a district representative and was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for the highest amount of money collected by an individual member of Optimist International.

Mrs. Tilney was supportive of youth activities in New York and elsewhere, receiving a commendation by the Tennessee District of Optimist International in 1993 and an Ambassador of Good Will proclamation from the Tennessee governor in 1998.

She was active in the Lockport Club Hockey and was honored for her staunch support of the organization in 1995. She received an award from the Buffalo Bills Alumni Association in 1991 for her work on breast cancer.

Mrs. Tilney was instrumental in launching the Barge Canal Optimist Club Breast Cancer Golf Tournament. which has raised more than $328,000 for research and youth activities over 18 years. She received an Unsung Hero Award in 2009 and was a nominee for the YWCA Tribute to Women award in 2007.

Survivors include her husband of 42 years, Leonard G. Jr.; a son, Thomas L.; a brother, Samuel Turco; and three grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 168 Chestnut St.

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