Oct. 8, 1923 – Dec. 17, 2012
Virginia A. Brady, longtime director of social services at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and a pioneer in the field of geriatric social work, died Monday in her North Buffalo home of 70 years. She was 89.
Known as “Ducky” to family and friends, Miss Brady was born in Buffalo and was a graduate of St. Mary’s Seminary. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Canisius College and the University at Buffalo, respectively.
Miss Brady served two decades at Catholic Charities of Buffalo, where she established and served as supervisor of its geriatric division for a number of years before going to Roswell Park, where she was director of social services for two decades.
She was regarded as the force behind the establishment of Kevin Guest House on Ellicott Street, the country’s oldest hospitality house for families of hospital patients.
Her work on it began after the parents of a young leukemia patient approached her and Dr. Lucius Sinks, then chief of pediatrics at Roswell Park, about the financial and emotional hardships of people who travel distances to be near hospitalized family members.
Hospital administrators approved their effort to establish such a place, and the parents of the late Kevin Garvey of Sharon, Pa. – that young leukemia patient – bought the Civil War-era house in memory of their son.
Miss Brady recruited and directed the volunteers who restored, painted and furnished the house, which opened in 1972. It served as the model for the first Ronald McDonald House, in Philadelphia, which opened two years later.
Miss Brady, a longtime member of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Geriatrics Society, retired in 1988.
She was a lifelong golfer who was well known on the local golf circuit, playing on courses and in tournaments across Southern Ontario and Western New York, where she won numerous regional golf awards.
Miss Brady had served as a volunteer scorer during the 1948 Western Open, won by Ben Hogan, at Brookfield Country Club in Clarence and at the Canadian Open at Cherry Hill Club in 1972.
She was said to be the oldest member “in the book” at Cherry Hill.
She spent most summers on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie.
Known for her height, energy and encyclopedic knowledge of family history, she was an inveterate holiday hostess and keeper of the coveted recipe for her clan’s Christmas eggnog.
Survivors include a sister, Maureen B. Corr.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Mark Catholic Church, 401 Woodward Ave.