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Rita Biondo, 92, active in local and regional CWA union

Oct. 23, 1924 – Oct. 2, 2017

Rita Biondo, a retired telephone company worker who was active as a union official, died Monday in Elderwood at Cheektowaga after a brief illness. She was 92.

Born in Buffalo, the former Rita J. Panek was a graduate of Riverside High School.

After raising five children, she began working for New York Telephone Co. as an operator in 1960 and became a member of Communications Workers of America Local 1122 six years later.

In 1967, Mrs. Biondo was elected steward of the Williamsville Repair Department, then served as Local 1122 secretary from 1969 to 1978. For 10 years beginning in 1974, she also was treasurer of the Western New York CWA Council and was a delegate to the Buffalo AFL-CIO Council.

After she retired from the telephone company in 1984, she became active in the Western New York CWA Retirees Club. She was elected vice president in 1984 and president in 1990. She also remained involved with boards and committees within the union.

She represented all the CWA retirees in District 1, which included New York, New Jersey and the New England states. In 1996, she was elected to chair the CWA Retired Members Council and served in that post until 1999.

A longtime Amherst resident, she was honored in 1998 with the CWA Award of Appreciation for her service to the Retired Members Council. In 1991, she received the Erie County Clerk’s Office Community Service Award for her contributions to working men and women in the county.

Her husband, Salvatore F., a heavy equipment operator on highway projects, died in 1995.

Survivors include a son, Joseph; four daughters, Carol Clark, Marilynn Allen, Sharon Knuth and Barbara Voigt; a sister, Pat Vogt; 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 8:45 a.m. Saturday in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 200 St. Gregory Court at Maple Road, Amherst.

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