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Gloria D. McDonald, 90, first woman to serve on Town of Tonawanda Town Board

Dec. 7, 1928 – Dec. 9, 2018

Gloria D. McDonald, the first woman to serve on the Town of Tonawanda Town Board, died Sunday in Schofield Residence Nursing Facility, Town of Tonawanda, two days after her 90th birthday.

"She was a pioneer in our Town leading the way for other women to follow in her footsteps and serve on the Town Board," the Town of Tonawanda posted on its Facebook page, noting her death.

She took a seat on the Tonawanda Town Board in 1976 and served through 1991, when she declined to seek re-election so she could devote time to her duties as the new president of the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs.

During her term as president, the State Federation of Women’s Clubs held its annual convention in Buffalo for the first time in 27 years.

Born in Buffalo, the former Gloria Drake was a 1945 graduate of Nardin Academy and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from D’Youville College in 1949.

She had various secretarial jobs from 1949 to 1955, then was legal assistant to her husband of 23 years, Town of Tonawanda attorney Thomas C. McDonald, until his death in 1979.

She was a district congressional assistant to Rep. Henry P. Smith III, R-North Tonawanda, from 1965 to 1974.

She chaired Town Board committees on publicity, taxes and assessments, libraries and energy conservation. She was a member of committees on economic development and planning, the Parks and Recreation Board, the Youth Board and senior citizens.

She served on the boards of directors of the Tonawanda Housing Authority and Tonawanda's Town Economic Development Corp.

Mrs. McDonald was an officer in the Honorarians of the Buffalo Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Zonta Club of Kenmore and the Pro-To Club of Buffalo.

She was past president of the Green Acres Republican Women’s Club, which honored her as a Woman of the Year in 1977.

The Tonawanda-Kenmore Historical Society named her Person of the Year in 1986 and she received the Portrait of the Year award from the Kenton Republican Couples Club in 1983.

Survivors include a son, Paul; three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, in St. Amelia’s Catholic Church, 2999 Eggert Road, Town of Tonawanda.

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