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Zorie Bell Boling, active in Falls black community Sept. 15, 1925 -- Sept. 12, 2009

Zorie Bell Boling, long active in the Niagara Falls African-American community, died Saturday in Millard Fillmore Hospital. She was 84.

Mrs. Boling, who was born in Sparta, Ga., came to Niagara Falls with her parents when she was an infant and grew up on 27th Street.

When she was young, she worked at the Marigold Restaurant in Niagara Falls with her mother, grandmother and great-aunt.

She then worked with the Niagara Community Action Program, Track II Betterment and the Niagara Falls Recreation Department.

From 1971 until she retired in 1989, Mrs. Boling worked with special-needs students in the Niagara Falls School District.

A co-founder of the "Old Timers Picnic" for the first African-American families who migrated to Niagara Falls, Mrs. Boling helped organize the annual gatherings. The organization is known today as "The Black Pioneers of Niagara Falls."

She was a member of St. John AME Church and the Amal Ahieman Club.

Mrs. Boling recently received a commendation from State Sen. Antoine Thompson for her community service.

She also received the Niagara County Black Achievers Award and was a member of the organization's award committee.

Mrs. Boling was a member of the Community Action Committee, which was organized following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The committee members helped establish Youth Patrols in the city. They also held special events and brought in speakers such as Shirley Chisholm and Charles Evers, the brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers.

A member of the Jordan Gardens Mothers Club, Mrs. Boling organized events for families there with a focus on youth.

She also was a member of the committee that organized the first "Black Experience," a community celebration held at Conference Center Niagara Falls.

She loved poetry and wrote her own poems and plays. One of her plays, "Mama," was performed by neighborhood children.

Mrs. Boling was a member of Teele's Travel Club, through which she visited Hawaii, Africa, Jerusalem, Egypt, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Rome, Brussels and London, as well as the Mediterranean and Caribbean regions.

Her husband of 40 years, Floyd Boling Sr., died 1984.

She is survived by 12 daughters, Rosalind, Leona Blackburn, Michele, Bonnie Leverette, Tamara May, Crystal Barton, Ava Rose, Zorie, Desiree Watson, Celeste Jackson, Amber and Heather Tripp; three sons, Floyd Jr., Dane and Sterling; a sister, Ruth Coleman; and a brother, Edward Mosley Jr.

A wake will be at 11 a.m. Friday in True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 Ferry St., followed by services at noon.

[d/williams]

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