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Betty A. Maloney, 95, active with Studio Arena women's group and worked with disabled

April 12, 1923 – Oct. 14, 2018

Betty A. Maloney spent decades assisting Studio Arena Theatre and advocating for the disabled.

But the loves of her life were her Catholic faith and her family, starting with her husband of 63 years, Arthur J. Maloney, who died in 2011.

"She was extremely, deeply religious," said her son, Barry Maloney. A "very, very strong-willed woman," he said, she had surgery to remove part of a lung after a cancer diagnosis 30 years ago and went on to enjoy many more years of volunteering, traveling and family events.

Mrs. Maloney was 95 when she died Oct. 14, 2018, at Oxford Village at Canterbury Woods.

Born in Buffalo, she was the only child of Norman and Helen (Oliver) Augustine. She graduated from Bennett High School and Bryant and Stratton Business College.

Her work as a volunteer started early. During World War II, she worked as an American Red Cross canteen hostess in Buffalo and, at Sisters  Hospital, volunteered in the snack bar and pushing a service cart for patients.

Mrs. Maloney worked as a back-to-school teen fashion consultant for AM&A's and was a part-time model in the former Oppenheim Collins Specialty Shop on Main Street downtown. She also volunteered to model in fashion shows to benefit various charities and causes.

She met Arthur J. Maloney soon after he returned home from Army service in World War II, where he rose to the rank of major and commanded the service battery of the 106th Field Artillery Unit in the Pacific Theater.

They both belonged to St. Mark's Church in North Buffalo. After being introduced by a mutual friend, they had their first date at the old Park Lane Hotel. The following Sunday, she spotted the dashing young major as he wore his dress Army uniform into church. Her son said, "She always told us that she saw him walking down the aisle with his mother and father, and she said to her mother, 'That's the man I'm going to marry.' "

She was right. They walked down the same aisle together on Nov. 6, 1948. They had five children: Brian, Barry, Molly A., Michael and David.

The family moved to Snyder in 1954.

Mrs. Maloney was an active volunteer for the Women of Studio Arena Theatre starting in the 1960s, serving on the board of directors and on many committees and leading fundraisers. She continued her work there until the mid-1990s.

"She loved the theater, and she and my father were season ticket holders," said Barry Maloney.

Mrs. Maloney, her lifelong friend Harriet "Petie" Brock and Blossom Cohan led fundraising, ticket-selling and publicity work for the group for many years. Her son called them "birds of a feather, best buds for years."

In the early 1960s, she and her husband spearheaded a parents campaign to defeat a proposal to centralize the Amherst school system. The Maloneys wanted to see more support for children with special needs in neighborhood schools, her son said.

In the early 1960s, the Maloneys and five other couples formed the Western New York chapter of the Association for Learning Disabled, now the Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York. Mrs. Maloney was extremely active in that group for more than a decade, meeting with parents one-on-one and speaking to parent and educational groups.

She also pioneered the practice of psychomotor patterning, a 1960s-era method of treating people with disabilities or brain injuries, at the now-closed St. Rita's Home for Children in Getzville. "It was almost like physical therapy," said her son.

In her youth, Mrs. Maloney was an avid skier, but after breaking her leg in her early 20s, she gave up the sport. One day when her children were young teens, Mr. and Mrs. Maloney announced that the family would be taking up skiing. They bought skis and joined the Buffalo Ski Club. Mrs. Maloney skied until she was in her 50s or 60s.

The Maloneys were avid travelers, visiting Scotland, England, Ireland, Australia, China, Greece, Italy, Iceland and the North Pole. They also stayed at a resort in Aruba annually for many years.

A devout Catholic, Mrs. Maloney was a member of Christ the King Church in Snyder, along with its Perpetual Adoration Society and its Altar and Rosary Society. After moving to Williamsville in 1999, she joined St. Gregory the Great Church.

Mrs. Maloney is survived by her five children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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

 

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