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Joan M. Light, financial planner and wife of former Buffalo News editor

May 4, 1929 - Feb. 12, 2019

Joan M. Light, a financial planner and wife of former editor and vice president of The Buffalo News Murray B. Light, died Tuesday in her home in Buffalo. She was 89.

The former Joan Marie Cottrell was born in Buffalo. She was a 1946 graduate of Amherst Central High School and attended the University of Buffalo and the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she studied marketing.

"Mom was somebody who was a very smart, sharp, witty person," said her son, Jeff Light, who is publisher and editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"And opinionated," added her daughter, Laura Light Arbogast, for many years a medieval scholar at Harvard University, cataloging ancient manuscripts in the Houghton Library.

"She was very politically educated. Really, the whole household was. We were people who argued at the dinner table," Light Arbogast said.

"I think she was known in many circles. At a time when women weren't supposed to say what they thought, she was not overshadowed by my dad. She had her own opinions and she wasn't intimidated by other people. She said she knew what she believed in and she was very happy to argue in a public way, though, politely. I mean, she was also a lady," Light Arbogast added.

While she was willing to be outspoken, her children said their mother projected an air of elegance and being fashionable.

Mrs. Light met her future husband, Murray Light, not long after he came to Buffalo from Brooklyn in the late 1940s, according to Jeff Light.

Out on a blind date, they went bowling, he said. They were married in 1954.

Jeff Light said his mother started out as an accountant for a couple of small firms. In 1984, Mrs. Light – by then a certified financial planner – became a tax analyst for Sovran Self Storage, now Life Storage, a real estate investment trust in Williamsville. Previously, she had been a senior tax specialist with Main Hurdman accountants.

In 1987, Mrs. Light was promoted to vice president of operations and investor relations for the firm. She retired in 1996.

In 1986, she was elected president of the Western New York Chapter of the International Association for Financial Planning.

She was a Buffalo Club member and served on the board of the American Red Cross Western New York Chapter.

"She was a very good golfer. She belonged for years to the Wanakah Country Club in Hamburg," said Jeff Light. "She also was a really good bridge player."

Her husband, who rose through the ranks at The News as swing editor, assistant makeup editor, assistant news editor, news editor and managing editor for news, was promoted to editor in 1979, a post he held until he retired in 1999. He died in 2011.

Another daughter, Lee Light Monier, a supervising nurse for blood collection for the American Red Cross, died in 2003.

Survivors, in addition to her son and daughter, include six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 16 in St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, 160 Court St.

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