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Judith S. Chick, spearheaded Ellicott Creek flood project,excelled in advocacy, communications

July 6, 1942 – June 28, 2015

Back in 1985, when Amherst residents waged a huge public battle to prevent future Ellicott Creek flooding, Judith S. Chick went to Washington, D.C., to lobby hard with top elected officials, including Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Alfonse M. D’Amato and Rep. Jack F. Kemp.

One key official initially opposed to the Ellicott Creek Flood Control Project left her in a room with a large number of staff members, recording her every word and trying to intimidate her, according to her family.

“It didn’t work,” said her husband, Dr. Robert M. Chick. “She got him to change his mind.”

The result was passage of the new Ellicott Creek Flood Control Project, a testament to a large, local grass-roots movement led in part by Mrs. Chick.

“And they put the Ellicott Creek bike path in as a fringe benefit,” her husband said.

Mrs. Chick, who also worked as a top corporate communications executive for 14 years and spent seven years working in two local television newsrooms, died Sunday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a five-year battle with lung cancer. She was 72.

The Amherst woman’s greatest professional accomplishment was her work with the Concerned Citizens group for the Ellicott Creek project.

For her efforts, a Buffalo News columnist called Mrs. Chick the “community activist of the year,” praising her for her relentless efforts.

“She was forceful,” her husband said. “She was a strong woman.”

A Buffalo native, the former Judith Stein graduated from Park School and earned a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy from the University at Buffalo.

Mrs. Chick entered television news in 1977, working as an assignment editor and producer at WKBW-TV for two years, before moving to WGRZ-TV, where she served as a morning news anchor and noon news producer for five years.

In 1984, she entered the world of marketing, public relations and corporate communications, working for Delta Sonic and CECOS International for two years each. She then spent the next 10 years at Browning-Ferris Industries, serving for nine years as corporate communications director and traveling all over the world to do videos for the company. She retired in 1998.

Mrs. Chick was a very active community volunteer, serving on the boards or holding key positions with the American Jewish Committee, Gilda’s Club, the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, its Community Relations Committee and Super Sunday event, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Jewish Family Service, the WNY Women’s Fund, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, the American Heart Association, the Family Justice Center and Adoption STAR. She also was a member of Leadership Buffalo’s first class.

Last year, on their 50th wedding anniversary, Mrs. Chick and her husband renewed their marriage vows.

Surviving in addition to her husband are two daughters, Jodi Latner and Jill; a son, David; and three grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware Ave.

– Gene Warner

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