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Shirley R. Conner, teacher, journalist, politician ; Jan. 13, 1923 -- April 18, 2012

Mother, teacher, school board member, newspaper reporter, managing editor and Pendleton town supervisor were among Shirley R. Conner's list of accomplishments in her long life.

Mrs. Conner, a native of Lockport, died April 18 in Lockport's Eastern Niagara Hospital. She was 89.

For most of her life, she lived in her beloved farmhouse on Mapleton Road in Pendleton.

A graduate of Buffalo State College, Mrs. Conner taught school in the Barker Central School District before joining the Tonawanda News and becoming an award-winning education and municipal government reporter.

In 1977, she stepped aside from the education beat to avoid a conflict of interest and successfully ran for a seat on the Starpoint Board of Education, serving until 1981.

"I wanted to see what went on from the other side," she had said at the time, revealing her undying sense of curiosity.

But her journalism career took precedent, and soon after serving on the School Board, she advanced to managing editor of the Tonawanda News.

She eventually retired from the newspaper business to begin a career in politics.

In 1990-91, she served as a member of the Pendleton Town Board and then served two terms as town supervisor.

"In pursuit of whatever she believed in, mother was relentless," said her daughter Janine Wladkowski.

Mrs. Conner loved rural living and was an avid gardener. She looked forward to the warmer weather when she could get out on her tractor.

Her husband, James, died in 1977.

Mrs. Conner is survived by another daughter, Coleen.

Services were April 21 in Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home, Lockport.

-- Lou Michel