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Lois Bronz, 90, 1st African-American Head Of Westchester Legislature, Dies

Lois Bronz Photo Credit: Provided
Lois Bronz Children's Center Photo Credit: Google Maps

Former Westchester County Legislator Lois Bronz, 90, died on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

In 1994, she became the first black woman to be elected to the County Board of Legislators, and became the first African-American to lead the county board in 2002.

County Executive George Latimer said, "Westchester lost a true friend in Lois Bronz."

Bronz worked in education for 32 years and was elected to the Greenburgh Town Council in 1976. She was appointed Deputy Town Supervisor and served the town for 16 years.

Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said, "Greenburgh and Westchester County lost a giant today with the passing of Lois Bronz. Lois was trailblazer who made our community a much better place."

In addition to serving on the board of the Lois Bronz Children’s Center, she has also served as Director on the boards of Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, Westchester Coalition, Westchester Community Opportunity Program, United Way of Westchester, Westchester Arts Council, and the Hudson Valley Council for Senior Citizens. She was honored by numerous organizations –many appreciated her hard work and dedication, according to Feiner.

In 2006, the Union Child Day Care Center, which was established in 1966, was renamed in honor of Bronz, who had been a major supporter and fundraiser for the center for years. "I would always get a call from Lois asking if I could spend some time making phone calls for the day care center," Feiner said.

"When Lois was first elected to the Greenburgh Town Board and to the Legislature it was much harder for African Americans to win election to positions of leadership than it is today. It took leaders like Lois to pave the way – making it easier for today’s generation of leaders to seek and win prominent positions in local, county, state and national offices," Feiner said. "She will be missed. But, thousands of people will continue to benefit from her initiatives and dedicated service."

The Greenburgh Town Board will begin its next meeting on Feb. 28 with a moment of silence in honor and in memory of Lois Bronz.

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, also was saddened by the passing of her friend and mentor.

"As the first African-American and the first woman elected chair of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, she was a pioneer, trailblazer and role model for people throughout the county," Stewart-Cousins said in a press statement.

Bronz was a tireless volunteer philanthropist and activist, Stewart-Cousins said, and she championed many important causes and served her community well. "I am honored to have had the privilege to know and work with a woman of such outstanding character," she said. "I send my condolences and best wishes to her friends and family."

Latimer said, "Having served with her during my time at the Board of Legislators, I saw first-hand just what kind of impact Lois had on Westchester."

"Our time serving together resulted in meaningful legislation that changed the course of the county for the better, most notably the creation of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission," Latimer said. "She fought for civil rights, women's rights and human rights. . . .Lois leaves behind a legacy of commitment to the people of Westchester."

The New York Times published this interview with Ms. Bronz in 1977.

Check back with Daily Voice for details on her funeral service.

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