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Aug. 1, 1923 – Dec. 1, 2012

Carmela G. Witter, whose advocacy for children took her from the classroom to the courtroom, died Saturday in Canterbury Woods, Amherst. She was 89.

Born Carmela Visone in Acadia, Italy, Mrs. Witter was a graduate of Bennett High School and worked as a switchboard operator at Curtiss-Wright Corp. from 1942 to 1946.

She was a teacher’s aide for the Clarence Central School District from 1965 to 1984. In 1968, she founded the Clarence Teen Center and served as its director, retiring in 1984.

A former resident of Buffalo and Clarence, she was a parishioner at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Harris Hill, where she was a former director of its Catholic Youth Organization.

She was the Town of Clarence’s Citizen of the Year in 1976.

In retirement, Mrs. Witter moved to Florida, where she was a hospice volunteer in Sarasota County and a volunteer for the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program, 20th Judicial Circuit Court, in which she was an advocate for children in domestic abuse and custody cases.

“The thought of some kid not getting a fair shake just really upset her,” said Elizabeth “Betsy” Murphy, one of her daughters.

“She really was an advocate for kids,” both in Clarence and Florida, Murphy said.

Her first husband, John Grabowski, died in 1984, shortly after the couple retired to Florida. She subsequently remarried, and her second husband, Edward Witter, died in 1999.

Mrs. Witter returned to this area in 2003.

Additional survivors include two sons, Daniel and John Grabowski; two other daughters, Deborah Lennox and Carol Salvatore; and two brothers, Lucian and John Visone.

She bequeathed her body to the University at Buffalo’s Anatomical Gift Program.

A memorial Mass and Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 8500 Main St., Harris Hill.