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The Trail Blazers: The Earliest Female Town Board Members (1974-1992)
By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber
Greenburgh has a long tradition of electing women to the Town Board. Each of these women has used their powerful voices and brilliant minds to great effect and greatly improved the lives of Greenburgh’s residents. This tradition continues to this day with the recent election of Honorable Gina Jackson. Let us now look back at the earliest female town board members, those trail blazers, who paved the way for Gina Jackson.
Honorable Barbara J. Rosen
Years active as councilwoman (1974-1983):
She was the first woman to serve on the town board. She was elected in November of 1973, and her term began in January of 1974. She served on the board for ten years(Ziminsky 1983).
She has two children. In 1983, she resigned to begin a career as a lawyer for the New York City Law Department (Ziminsky 1983).
We ask any town residents who knew Mrs. Rosen and might know:
to please provide us with this information.
Honorable Lois Bronz:
Lois was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended St Mary's Academy and received her bachelors' degree at Xavier University New Orleans, and a Master’s degree in Education from Wayne State University. After graduation, she became a math teacher; teaching at every level K-12 at some point in her long career as an educator. She was married to Charles Bronz and they had three children: Edgar Louis Jr, Francine, and Shelly. Lois also had four grandchildren: Dorian, Nora Eloise, Edgar Louis III, and Gyasi.
Lois’ father was deeply interested in politics. This interest inspired in her a passion for citizen participation in government. In 1976, she was elected to The Town of Greenburgh Town Board. She served in this position until 1993, when she left to become a member of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. She was later elected Chair of the Board in 2002. She served on the board until 2009. Her greatest accomplishment in her 16-year political career was getting the landmark legislation passed that created the Westchester County Human Rights Commission.
She passed away on February 12, 2018 (https://obits.lohud.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?n=lois-bronz&pid=188189057&fhid=21962)
Honorable Eddie Mae Barnes:
Eddie Mae was born in Bartow, Florida, where she graduated as the salutatorian of her high school class. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Dillard University, an HBCU in New Orleans, Louisiana, and continued her education at Teachers College/Columbia University where she earned her Master’s in Nursing Administration/Psychiatric Nursing.
Eddie Mae moved to the Town of Greenburgh in 1975 with her husband, William Barnes, now deceased, a former basketball player with The Original Harlem Globetrotters, Florida A & M University graduate and Sports Hall of Fame Inductee, and their little girl, Wendy. They resided for twenty years in the Sky Meadow Section of Unincorporated Greenburgh (Personal communication from the Honorable Eddie Mae Barnes). She was elected to the Town of Greenburgh Town Board in 1992 where she served 4 consecutive terms until 2007. Her responsibilities included liaison to: the Greenburgh Housing Board of Commissioners, Theodore D. Young Community Center Advisory Board, WestCOP Board of Directors, Hartsdale Parking District Advisory Board and the Antennae Review Board.
Her most significant accomplishment as a councilwoman was that, early in her tenure, she introduced the legislation which created the Police-Community Advisory Commission. This commission enabled communications and heightened insight and empathy between the Town residents and the Greenburgh Police Department. That unprecedented initiative proved to be of value to the Town and has continued to date as an active part of Greenburgh town government as others build upon its legacy. She also initiated and promoted the re-naming of the Community Center in honor of Theodore D. Young. Through her efforts, representation by persons of color on boards and commissions increased within the Town of Greenburgh. She gained the reputation of being “a voice for the people” by consistently considering the points of view of her constituents and making decisions that affected their quality of life.
Concurrently, in the healthcare field, she was known for her contributions as Director of Nursing of Rye Hospital Center, a position she so ably held for thirty-two years, retiring in 2012. Her career in psychiatric nursing commenced at the Payne Whitney Clinic of New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center (now New York Presbyterian Hospital), where she became the first African American to hold the position as Director of Nursing (Personal communication from the Honorable Eddie Mae Barnes).
After leaving the Town Board, she became the Chair of the Greenburgh Chapter of the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus (http://wpcommunitymedia.org/total-faith-network/01232018-1876). Eddie Mae has received numerous awards through the years and is still quite active in several civic and social organizations as well as boards. She has been appointed for several terms and is currently serving on the Westchester County Human Rights Commission and the Fair Housing Board, the Westchester County Rent Guidelines Board, WestCOP Board of Directors, Antennae Review Board and Westchester EOC Advisory Council (Personal communication from the Honorable Eddie Mae Barnes).
Honorable Diana Juettner:
Diana Juettner was born in the Bronx, New York. She attended New York City Schools and graduated from Evander Childs High School. After graduation, she attended Hunter College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She did graduate work in American Government at American University in Washington D.C. While she was working on her degree, she worked at the Library of Congress in the Card Division that supplied many libraries in the country with the cards based on the Dewey Decimal System that were used by patrons to locate books and other research materials. (This card system which she worked on, has since been replaced with an electronic cataloging system) She earned her J. D. at Touro Law School and was in their first graduating class (personal communication from Honorable Diana Juettner).
She was appointed to the Greenburgh Town Board in January of 1992 and was elected in November of 1992 to serve in 1993. In 1993, she had to run again for a full 4-year term. She has been on the Town Board ever since (personal communication from Honorable Diana Juettner).
In the past, she has served as liaison to: the Greenburgh Town Court, the Climate Action Task Force, and the Drug Court Advisory Board. Currently, she serves as liaison to: the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Greenburgh Public Library, the Historic Land and Preservation Board, and to the town’s computer policy committee (Councilwoman Diana Juettner | Greenburgh, NY (greenburghny.com).
In conclusion, Greenburgh has a long tradition of electing women to the Town Board. Each of these women has used their powerful voices and brilliant minds to great effect and greatly improved the lives of Greenburgh’s residents. This tradition continues to this day with the recent election of Honorable Gina Jackson. Gina Jackson is standing on the shoulders of: Honorable Barbara J. Rosen, Honorable Lois Bronz, Honorable Eddie Mae Barnes, and Honorable Diana Juettner. Other board members who have followed in their footsteps were Timmy Weinberg and Sonja Brown.
Previous Slices of History include:
About the Authors:
We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.
I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Interviews with the authors:
Ashley, C. (Director). (2016). The Total Faith Show [Motion Picture].
Councilwoman-Lois Bronz Unknown. (2018, February 16). Lois Bronz (1927-2018). Retrieved from LoHud: https://obits.lohud.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?n=lois-bronz&pid=188189057&fhid=21962
Town of Greenburgh. (2021, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Town Board- Councilwoman Diana Juettner. Retrieved from Town of Greenburgh, NY: https://www.greenburghny.com/519/Councilwoman-Diana-Juettner
Ziminsky, V. (1983, September 9). Ten-Year Board Veteran to Resign. Reporter Dispatch, p. Unknown.