Nov. 18, 1940 – Feb. 14, 2016
Donna McCartney Henry, who for 26 years served as the vivacious and results-driven secretary of the Erie County Republican Committee, died unexpectedly Sunday at her winter residence in Fort Myers, Fla. She was 75.
Serving four party chairmen amid the rough and tumble of Erie County politics, Mrs. Henry emerged as a “go-to person” for local Republicans – an officer of the party who represented authority, nuts-and-bolts savvy and institutional knowledge.
Former Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, one of those chairmen under whom she served, called Mrs. Henry “the consummate inside player who knew how to move the pieces and execute results.”
“She was superb in keeping the city and towns working together,” he said. “She was the glue.” Former Chairman Robert E. Davis said Mrs. Henry’s ability to “have her nose in everything would have made her a good chairwoman.”
“Chairmen come and go,” he said. “Donna McCartney never went.”
Born in Buffalo, the former Donna Lorenzo attended Holy Angels Academy and was graduated from Bennett High School. She also took numerous professional development courses, especially during her long stint at Erie Community College. Beginning as a clerk/stenographer in 1976, she took on a number of administrative tasks before retiring as coordinator of campus facilities in 2001. She was viewed as a confidante of the Board of Trustees and to former ECC President Louis Ricci.
But Mrs. Henry was also known as a dedicated community person through her involvement with the Kelly for Kids Foundation, the Kids Voting Program, Supportive Services Corp. board member, and as a fund-raiser for women’s shelters through the New York State Division for Women.
She was a founding member of the Erie County Federation of Republican Women, and started ECC’s Ebony and Ivory Ball to raise scholarship funds.
Mrs. Henry also was a member of the New York State Republican Committee, Federation of Italian American Societies of Western New York, and a longtime volunteer and former trustee of Nardin Academy, where she established the Denise McCartney Ambassador Award for an elementary school student. In 2012, Mrs. Henry received ECC’s Minnie Gillette-Joan Bozer Award for her “compassion, perseverance and dedication.”
She was married in 1992 to Karl A. Henry, a former Hamburg mayor, Erie County legislator and commissioner of the state Workers Compensation Board. He died in 2014.
She is survived by a daughter, Kelly McCartney; a son, Michael McCartney; a stepdaughter, Karoline Henry; two sisters, Carol Cournan and Sandra Horton; and five grandchildren.
Prayers will be offered at 9 a.m. Monday at the Amigone Funeral Home, 1132 Delaware Ave., followed by a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Joseph University Catholic Church, 3269 Main St.