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Lois DeVinney, active in community organizations

Jan. 25, 1928 – May 14, 2015

Lois DeVinney, who was active in local community organizations, died Thursday from complications of dementia at Elderwood at Amherst. She was 87.

Born in Ithaca, the former Lois Hall graduated from Bennett High School and attended Syracuse University. She worked for a decade as a medical transcriber at Framingham Union Hospital in Framingham, Mass.

Mrs. DeVinney returned to Western New York in 1990 after a 40-year absence, with her husband, Elton Paul DeVinney, an early employee of IBM, who died in 1993.

She was the daughter of Randolph F. Hall, a direct descendant of Lyman Hall, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Randolph Hall was inducted into the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame in 1992 for his many contributions as an aviation pioneer including serving as project engineer of the top-secret first American jet aircraft, the Bell P-59 Airacomet. Mrs. DeVinney took much pride in the fact that her first airplane ride was in 1931 at the age of 3 in her father’s airplane, a Cunningham-Hall PT-6.

Another plane designed by Mr. Hall, the Cunningham-Hall GA-36 was restored in the 1990s and is displayed in the Niagara Aerospace Museum in Niagara Falls.

She pursued her interest in aviation history by serving on the board of directors of the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame starting in 1995. She was also an active member of the Aero Club of Buffalo. Mrs. DeVinney also served on the board of directors of the Bennett High School Alumni Association for several years and performed volunteer work at Hospice Buffalo.

She is survived by two daughters, Gemma and Patty DeVinney; a brother, Theodore A. Hall; and three grandchildren.

A private graveside funeral will be held at Forest Lawn cemetery.

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