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Nov. 28, 1947 – May 28, 2013

Nancy Gara, of Lewiston, a longtime banker who was active in the community, died Tuesday in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. She was 65.

Born Nancy Spendio in St. Catharines, Ont., she had a 43-year career in the banking industry with Marine Midland, HSBC and First Niagara. She began as a part-time teller in 1970 at Marine Midland Bank and eventually took on branch manager roles at several locations, including the HSBC head office in Buffalo and later as vice president of First Niagara Bank.

She coordinated all banking and marketing initiatives for Marine/HSBC in the Buffalo Niagara region, including the Love Canal settlement, public banking and the Festival of Lights.

Mrs. Gara served on the board of directors of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Sisters Hospital Foundation, Riverdale Cemetery Association, Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club, Niagara Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Niagara Falls Water Authority, NFC Development Corporation, Niagara Falls “Festival of Lights,” St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce and Family Justice Center.

She also was a founding member of the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Foundation board of directors and a member of Niagara University’s advisory board.

In addition, she served as the chairwoman of the community campaign to raise funds to revitalize Schoellkopf Park on the campus of Memorial Medical Center.

Mrs. Gara was the 2011 recipient of the Prestigious CEO Award from HSBC Group USA and the Woman of Distinction Award from the Niagara Gazette.

She was given the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce Community Leader Award. She was the HSBC Manager of the Year for two years and the HSBC Business Banker of the Year. She also was recognized with Sales Leadership awards in retail, commercial, investment and public banking.

Mrs. Gara was this year’s chairwoman of the Memorial Medical Center Auxiliary “Sing Sisters Sing ... Celebrate Women’s Health” fall fundraising event and chairwoman of the first Memorial Medical Center Premier Gala Event.

Survivors include her husband of 40 years, Sam D. Sr.; two daughters, Lisa Nicoletti and Dina; two stepdaughters, Judy Finitz and Donna Hoolihan; two stepsons, Sam and David Gara; and a brother, John Spendio.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at noon Saturday in St. Vincent de Paul at St. Leo Catholic Church, 2748 Military Road, Town of Niagara, after prayers at 11:30 in M.J. Colucci & Son Funeral Chapel, 2730 Military Road, Town of Niagara.