Niagara Gazette

Columns

September 5, 2013

DELUCA: Songs sung in her name

Niagara Gazette — There was something about Nancy Gara’s death in May that struck me harder than most do. 

We met a couple years ago, when I drove to downtown Buffalo to snap a photo of her for a 2011 Women of Distinction magazine. Neither of this paper’s veteran photographers were available that day so I had volunteered to go and snap a quick shot.

She was a vice president at Marine Midland Bank, and I had expected her to be a bit buttoned up.  But, she was relaxed and open and it took longer than usual for the photo session because we enjoyed each other’s company.  

I was told later that she loved that photo. But I don’t think the picture did her justice. She was a beautiful woman, so youthful in energy and appearance that I was shocked to find out she was a grandmother of nine. But, no matter how good of a photo, I think it’s only words that can provide some of the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say.

So, today, some words about a woman who touched many in Western New York — so much so that an upcoming fundraiser which she had initially been set to chair — is being held in her memory.

I recently sat down with two of her dear friends and the stories they told me have been running through my head. What I keep thinking is that if you want to know how your life is going, consider the stories people will tell about you after you die. 

Will you be able to say your loss was felt from the maintenance man to the company president? And that you helped to turn an important community resource, in Nancy’s case Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, into a noted “Center of Excellence.”

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